Ann Mitchell – Featured LACP Member, August 2019
Ann Mitchell is a photographer known for using the medium in an expressive and poetic manner. After completing a BFA in Photography from Art Center College of Design, she worked as an award-winning advertising and editorial photographer for over a decade. She then returned to school to complete a MFA in Art from Claremont Graduate University. While there, in addition to producing her own work, she also curated several large art projects and has continued that commitment to community through the organizing of photo-related events. Shortly after graduation she joined the Art & Photography Department (now Visual and Media Arts) at Long Beach City College, where she has served as Chair and now as Digital Media Program Coordinator.
Her photographs have been included in a large number of solo and group exhibitions in the United States and internationally and have been featured in numerous publications. In 2008 Balcony Press released Austin Val Verde: Impressions of a Montecito Masterpiece, a monograph of her Val Verde project. She continues to teach and pursue her photographic interests in her most recent series The Chance Chronicles, a photomontage set of platinum palladium dreamscapes.
My mother is a painter and my father was a film-maker and, over time, I’ve come to realize that my photography…and my thoughts about the medium in general has been deeply influenced by both those artists. I’ve always seen photography as an expressive medium that plays with the “real” but is not bound by it. I want to create images that people can get lost it, that give the essence of a time or place in a way that speaks to the heart.
In this series of constructed images, I have created a world that feels somewhere between a dream and a cinematic still. A world where we have a sense that the space and narrative continues beyond the frame, with echos from a past existence. The title, Chance Chronicles, comes from the process I used to create the images, starting with a randomly selected written meditation prompt. I then start writing and the writing process leads to me images…which are the basis for the work you see here.
Beginning with a warm, monochromatic palette to impart a sense of nostalgia, I use a visual language of objects that weave man-made structures into a place where nature is returning. These are spaces of transition and I like the idea that in a balance between man and nature… nature will eventually have its way with us. The objects within the frame are the characters – they embody hope, loss, life, age, strength…that is their role in these landscapes. Visually, I’m fascinated by the narratives/dreams that come to mind when I find abandoned places, and I’m drawn to western landscapes where the sky seems to go on forever, where there’s enough space for waves of those dreams.
In creating these scenes, I work with my own imagery and that has taught me to look for scenes that are both evocative and non-specific to allow the viewer to remain in the “authenticity” of this new world. For this series I created a set of textures taken from a variety of vintage traditional processes: the glass from old proof frames, the edges of wet plates, even aging film by leaving it out in the elements.
I’ve chosen to print these in hand-coated Platinum / Palladium, a 19th Century process which I love for its luminous mark of the hand. I have also created a series of short (15-30 secs) animations that bring several of them to life.