Monday, May 16, 2011

Christina Falise Chernobyl, 25 Years After

I have been photographing the world around me for almost as long as I can remember. Growing up in New York City, my
single working mother only rarely took out her camera. Holidays and special events were the only times that the old Agfa
made its appearance, and film would often remain in that camera for several years before being developed. Seeing those rare
snapshots for the first time years later, I found them somewhat unsettling. Those people in that frame seemed lost. They were
permanently frozen in emulsion from 1972. I was fascinated by the images and by the gulf of time which lay between us, and I
realized that photographs have a unique ability. They can make the temporary permanent.
After being introduced to the darkroom in a fifth grade photo class, my love of photographs only grew as I did. Using a beat up
old 35mm camera, I would wander the streets of New York after school photographing anything that caught my interest,
and very often those images were of ignored or hidden places and people. These are subjects which I find I return to again
and again. While my equipment and experience have grown and evolved over the years, my reasons for photographing have
not changed all that much. Regardless of the subject, I have always worked to capture that elusive feeling I had as a child
looking at the old snapshots.
I prefer to work with 6x6cm black and white film and make my prints in a wet darkroom. I feel that making my photographs
this way keeps me closer to the original source, and find the square format both challenging and rewarding. When working in
this medium I never crop an image, preferring to always print full-frame. In recent years, however, I have come to embrace
digital media as well. It allows for a certain spontaneity and flexibility that the film process lacks. Regardless of the format, I
still start with the basic process of recording light exactly as it existed at one specific moment in time. For me, it is this
characteristic which makes photography so unique and important. That singular act of framing and capture sits in diametric
opposition to the very nature of time. It makes the temporary permanent.
It is this very quality of photography which allows me to explore the themes of life, death and our world. The more I work,
and the older I get, the more I want to study and understand the transient nature of human life and its influence upon our