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Sandra Klein – Honorable Mention

Meeting the Shadow

As I sit in my garden, I watch life become more and more fragmented – the pandemic, politics, issues of race and ethnicity, personal losses, all contribute to an unhinged surrealism. Here in my garden, I understand that the beauty and decay among the verdure serve as a metaphor for this new world.

In this series, I photograph flora in its decayed state, focusing on light and shadow. I then deconstruct the image, leaving only the shadow. I cling to what is ephemeral, meticulously removing the initial subject, having no idea what will remain. Chance takes over and I begin to have a conversation with silhouettes created by the sun. I cut and sew the now incomplete photographs to create a material object, stitching together what is lost, the fleeting memory of what once was. These fragile efforts portray my psyche during these turbulent times.

While working on this series, I was reminded of the year I spent working with the artist Betye Saar. To create her collages, she cuts shapes out of paper, only to throw them away. She then uses the scraps in her image making, forcing herself to work in the arena of the unexpected. I know that arena profoundly. There is so much in my life that I have been unprepared for and Meeting the Shadow is a metaphor for becoming comfortable with a future I can’t predict.