Randi Ganulin: Inanna
I met Randi Ganulin at the Medium Festival of Photography last year and have been wanting to share her unique imagery for some time. Randi’s self-portrait storytelling examines the fragility and connectedness of life, using photography and illustration to create inner worlds. Born from the need to understand life below the surface, these emotional and sometimes whimsical constructions speak to the unseen narratives in our lives.
Randi grew up in Los Angeles, concentrating on the visual arts in high school where she took her first photography class. Ganulin worked as a designer and illustrator for nearly a decade before returning to school for her graduate studies in photo-based media. She was awarded the Javits Fellowship in the Visual Arts in 1994 and received her MFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 1996. Her work has been shown at numerous venues across the U.S. and is included in several public collections, including the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Ft. Collins, CO. She lives just outside of Seattle with her husband and two children and is an associate professor in the Department of Fine Art at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA.
“All that is visible must grow beyond itself, extend into the realm of the invisible.” –
the I Ching, or Book of Changes
About three years ago, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with a re-occurrence of a lethal form of cancer. The news hit me like a punch to the gut, throwing me back into myself. I was struck by my need to find evidence of, and believe in, the invisible and intangible world as opposed to the solid, real stuff of day to day existence. The images in Inanna started as a response to this need and attempt to examine and synthesize these two realities.
Inanna is named after one of the oldest existant world myths describing the cycle of death and rebirth. Her story combines the physical (disembodiment) and spirit (re-embodiment) worlds in a tale that has been repeated, with different main characters, across time and across multiple world cultures.
For each of the images I use a self-portrait as the basis, exploring a different aspect of my invisible self– my personal history, fears, beliefs and ideals. The method of layering photographs with drawing is itself metaphorical, representing my best attempts at synthesis. The drawings act a bit like graffiti on a wall, altering and extending their photographic foundations. Quirky and imperfect, their intricacy opens the door for a closer look, creating an opening through which the viewer can make their own connections with the work via their individual life experience.
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