Zelda Zinn ~ Natural Selection

I have always loved fabric. I love running my hand over fabric. I love photographing fabric (as in my Visitations series). I was a quilter for many years. So when I saw the work of Zelda Zinn at Fotofest, I knew I liked her work immediately. The images felt familiar yet mysterious, photographic yet like charcoal drawings.

In Zelda's words...

Natural Selection

"This body of images came about during an artist’s residency in New Mexico. I thought I would be looking at the effects of natural forces on the land: geology, erosion, and mud. In the mountains the clouds were always changing, and I ended up spending a lot of time staring at the sky. It was the greatest never-ending movie. Every time I looked up, there was a new formation of clouds. I was amazed by the endless variety of shapes that were formed. They were so ethereal, yet so suggestive.

I started by trying to catalog the constant parade that I saw. It occurred to me that the shapes were the result of unseen forces acting on elements in nature. The clouds were the result of wind moving a collection of water droplets floating on air. As I thought about the water droplets, I saw them as collections of molecules. This led me to think about how nature is organized, and how patterns are the visual manifestations of the way nature works: its underlying structure. Hidden beneath everything is this invisible framework. If you think about it, it’s pretty magical, even though it can be explained through biology or physics.

I make pictures from bits and pieces of everyday things: cloth, paper, wool. I work with these materials until they make some kind of visual sense. I find myself drawn to shapes that are suggestive of other things, images we may recognize from our visual memories. My constructions are not so much pictures “of” things, but rather meant to evoke things. Often the elements suggested are drawn from nature: sky, earth, water, and the animal kingdom. I enjoy the challenge of alluding to other things through such limited means. Light is a key ingredient in these compositions, as is tone and line. I think of them as drawings made with a camera. Providing so little tangible information thorough depth, detail, or tonal variation, they tug at the seams of what a photograph is. They hold our attention through their power of suggestion and their purely visual appeal.