Lynne Breitfeller: After the Fire: Water Damaged
I’ve always felt that sometimes our best work comes from failure. In the case of Lynne Breitfeller, the failure was out of her control as she discovered a third of her analog archive destroyed by water after a fire in the studio upstairs. Many of the negatives were discarded but the ones she kept were transformed by time and water into new incarnations. Some of the damage created results that are truly amazing, in some ways a new form of spirit photography. The process of losing an archive shifted her ability to be totally focused on photography. In going through the images with a new perspective, Breitfeller returned to her practice and is actively making new work about her journey as a caregiver.
After the Fire has garnered a lot of attention: some recent events are the cover and an article in FotoFilmic Magazine, a solo show at the Picker Gallery, Vermont Center for Photography, a current solo exhibition through November 26th at the Lagstein Gallery, Nyack NY, a solo show at the Griffin Museum in 2024, and the work will be featured in the Silvergrain Classics Magazine in December.
Lynne Breitfeller is a photographer based in New Jersey. She explores both the mundane and unexpected details of everyday life. Human relationships, memory, loss, and humor are recurrent themes in her work. She received her B.A. in English from William Paterson University. She has studied photography at the International Center for Photography (New York), Los Angeles Center for Photography (California), and Maine Media College (Maine). After a two-decade career in text book publishing, she returned to the visual arts.
Her work has been exhibited at The Griffin Museum of Photography (Massachusetts), Center for Fine Art Photography and Colorado Photographic Arts Center (Colorado), Soho Photo Gallery (New York), Vermont Center for Photography (Vermont), Los Angeles Center for Photography and the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art (California) and Montclair Art Museum (New Jersey) amongst others. She was recognized in Photolucida’s 2023 Critical Mass Top 50 and a merit winner in All About Photo Magazine’s Womens #29 Issue and the Rfotofolio Open Call 2022. Additionally, her work has been featured in Fotofilmic, All About Photo, SHOTS, and Float magazines.
After the Fire: Water Damaged
After the Fire: Water Damaged, explores photographs as memory by examining the shape-shifting potential of altered images. As a result of a fire above my studio, water impacted my negatives destroying a third of my archive. Much was discarded, but I retained a collection of the work.
During the pandemic, I rediscovered the kept artifacts. Water on emulsion transformed their compositions and morphed the remains into new forms and meanings shaped by happenstance.
By working with the damaged pieces, I came to terms with the loss of my photographic legacy and saw the images anew. The memory of what was had shifted into something different. Our experience of remembering the past can change each time it is revisited, it is elastic.
This series made me consider ideas of transience and new incarnations, the impermanence of possessions, and memory.
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