Lydia Goldblatt, Juror’s Pick (Darren Ching), Work-in-Process Prize (2011 Daylight/CDS Photo Awards)

Lydia Goldblatt
Juror’s Pick, Daylight/CDS Photo Awards Work-in-Process Prize

“Lydia Goldblatt’s photographs of her father are a refreshing and eloquent shift from the straightforward document of family. These are visual gems—encapsulated memories of an intimate relationship between father and daughter. The somber light not only serves as a distinct artistic voice but somehow imbues these highly personal observations with an enigmatic aura with which the viewer can empathize but not wholly gain access.”—Darren Ching

Photographing, for me, has always been a way of training attention on the world I inhabit. Each piece of work I have made has stemmed from personal observations and questions as much as the desire to create something of more universal interest. I have assumed that this is a relevant creative strategy because my concerns are with basic human experience—who we are, how we live, where we find meaning, our desire to belong, our need to create a framework of meaning even without all the answers.

Increasingly, photographing has become a means of assembling aggregates of experience in a way that makes sense. It’s not about order or logic but about finding a way of intuitively arranging fragments, via image making, that goes some way to expressing both the internal and external processes that make up our experience of life.

I am beginning to explore this position more explicitly and freely in making work about my family, having avoided it for some time as too personal, too much a breach of domestic privacy. But privacy, I am learning, is defined by our privileged relationships with each other and with experience, and these relationships are so fundamental to life that perhaps they are never simply private but always provide vital elements of recognition between us.

For almost as long as I can remember I have been saying goodbye to my father, as much through my relationship to the world around me as through my relationship with him. Finally, as these goodbyes become more pressing, I am taking up my camera, no longer able or willing to let time pass without some sort of mediation. Crucially, joyfully, I do not feel that the process of making this work is simply a goodbye. Any word, any gesture, any process of reaching out creates the possibility of greater understanding and connection. So, if anything, goodbyes become hellos. These images are a beginning. They are not only about the specific context of my family but also an exploration of the constantly-shifting nature of life, of time, and the potential of photographs to open up the realm of experience via their poetic as well as indexical reality.

—Lydia Goldblatt

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