The World Within: Photography and Interiority
This online viewing room showcases the recent works of American photographers Res (b. 1985) and Bryson Rand (b. 1982). Each photographer’s work was created over the past few months in their homes and apartments in Sweden and Brooklyn, NY. Both provide intimate visions of the interior space as a metaphor of human interiority. Still lifes, self-portraits, and portraits of partners and close friends constitute the rich photographic universe that these works depict. In a period where life has transitioned indoors, these spaces have come to shape our way of being. Photography is at the forefront of capturing the new world we live in.
Professor Ewa Lajer-Burcharth from Harvard University was the first to elaborately discuss the relationship between architectural space and the formation of human character. In her research, she labels “these new interior views… not only a vision of richly described private life, but also an image of a distinct mode of spatialized self-experience.” Contrary to public life that can act as a performative arena, the home is a place for self-reflection and observation. In this viewing room, the works of Res and Bryson Rand provide a varied look on the themes of interior space and subjectivity.
Made during their quarantine in Sweden, Res’ photographs reflect on a mix of feelings including isolation, anxiety, and recognition. In this series, still lives act as a window into the interior world of the artist and a way to revel in emotions during solitude. According to the artist, “under these conditions of isolation…I suppose you see that longing. My longing to laugh, to make a joke, to feel warmth, to share beauty, to share angst and anxieties – to be in conversation.” Rich in details and textures, Res’ work draws upon material of their daily life. From the juxtaposition of living and wilting flowers bought at the market to an intriguing self-portrait, these images share an intimate portrayal of quarantine life that is both thought provoking and engaging.
In turn, Bryson Rand’s photographs are a response to the dichotomy of emotions set forth by the current pandemic. “In the photos I have made in the past few months,” the artist stated, “I hope to show the tension between feeling safe and cared or in my home, and the mental and physical stress and constraint I am under due to the pandemic.” Bryson’s works provide intimate portraits of his husband, Ryan, and close friend, Patrick, during this time. In particular, the images were brought forth by the play of light and shadows filtering through the apartment windows that reflect the sitter’s emotions and liberate the body in space. The two works, Patrick/Light & Shadows I in addition to Patrick/Light & Shadows II, encapsulate this diversity of sentiment.
Overall, this selection of photographs highlights how interior spaces have molded our identities. Covering a breadth of material, from still lives to portraiture, these images build upon spirited moods and moments of self-reflection to bring us closer to our understanding of human interiority.
New Growth, Cheese and Some Pickles, 2020
“This series, A Still Life, began in earnest when I relocated to Sweden just as COVID quarantine began earlier this year. The mix of isolation and anxiety took hold pretty early on and I turned to making these still lifes as a way to both connect with and work through some of those emotions as well as ground myself more in the space I was in. In the absence of community and regular connection, I started looking for connection and recognition in these objects, creating intimacy in the process of making the images.”
“Since I was working from home I was able to make a lot of these photographs from observation. If I saw something I found interesting all I had to do was walk into the other room and get my camera. It kept me on my toes, gave me an outlet for expression and the opportunity to stay curious and engaged. It pulled me out of myself. I was and still am really longing for home and connection and I find the process of making these images a kind of communication.”
Patrick/Light & Shadows I, 2020
“My husband, Ryan, became my primary subject since we were stuck at home together and as the summer went on I started spending time with Patrick again as part of our quarantine pod. As an artist, I have always been adaptable in finding ways to make work that reflects and responds to my setting and situation, and this group of photographs reflects that way of working.”
“The onset of the pandemic brought on feelings of confinement and restriction and I realized the way I was utilizing light and shadow in the first few photos I made of Ryan was a reflection of those feelings. Since that realization I have been trying to find a balance between expressing the care and love I feel for Ryan and Patrick while also reflecting the anxiety and constraint we are all experiencing.”
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