Figure Studies: Zara Carpenter: The Body as Fragile
This week in Lenscratch, we look at the work of seven artists, exploring the many iterations of the body in photography.
Physical and psychological pain are perennial subjects in Zara Carpenter’s deeply personal and transcendent work entitled Echoes. Carpenter photographs herself during moments of physical discomfort manifesting her distress onto her Polaroid self-portraits. Ghostly bodies disappear beneath the fragile surface layers of chemistry and color. Although Carpenter exorcises past trauma and pain, her resulting imagery is surprisingly tender, sensual, and radiant.
Using a variety of techniques and materials, Carpenter intervenes with the Polaroid as it develops. By layering and damaging her Polaroid self-portraits, she creates images where the abstract seamlessly unites with the figurative. These Polaroids are an act of submission to the potential in analog materials and to the ephemeral intervention of the artist’s hand. Ultimately Carpenter harnesses the transcendent beauty that can reveal itself in the most destructive moments.
[In] Harnessing these mistakes I have found a place of peace – where control and chance collide.
In this series I unbox past trauma and the physical, psychological pain that has come from it. These images are Polaroid self portraits of my body photographed when in pain, each photograph has been distressed at the point of making. I use different techniques to disrupt the image and its chemistry; layering damage, creating strange abstractions showing that beauty can come from something destructive.
The act of creating these images has allowed me to process and understand my history, to sit with it, bring it to the surface and exorcise it from me into the images I make. An act of catharsis and ultimately of healing and hope.
Self-taught multi disciplinary artist Zara Carpenter is based in Rochester UK. Her work examines themes of the body, trauma, living with chronic illness and a love of the ephemeral and memento mori imagery. Her processes include analog photography, print making, sculptural assemblages and performance.
Zara has exhibited nationally/internationally and has work in The Wellcome Collection and in the past two years has produced four photobooks.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
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