Flying to New York City in early March, 2020 was a tense and uncertain experience. Suddenly, I became aware of how careful I needed to be with my hands and personal space, and how strange it was to confine my natural physical motions. As I traveled across the country, I contemplated this new danger in our world and journaled ways I might use gesture, color and light in photograms to represent my feelings.
To make my photograms, I worked in a small, completely dark room, with no orientation. Placing a piece of unexposed color photo paper under the enlarger, I switched the light on and off to make successive exposures. In many, I positioned my hands with measured movements like sign language, in the dense darkness. I found each of these actions to be an echo of the constrained physical gestures I had studied on the plane. The repetition, mindfulness, and considered purpose became a soothing mantra in the darkroom.
The mystery and magic of light inspires me to expand intrinsically personal expressions into investigations of fragility, vulnerability, and determination. As I layered imprints onto photograms, my thoughts and feelings about our precarious existence somehow became part of each piece, like words become sentences, then paragraphs, and ultimately stories.
- Sara Silks
This series won a Portfolio Award in the 2020 San Francisco Bay International Photography Awards.
Sara Silks is fine art photographer known internationally for her work in alternative processes. She exhibits nationally as well as internationally in museums and juried gallery shows, and has had a solo show in New York City at the Soho Photo Gallery in October of 2017.
Silks has been a finalist in Photolucida’s Critical Mass the past three years, and was the international winner in two categories of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, 2017, resulting in work shown in Barcelona. Both her work and interviews have been featured in SHOTS Magazine, Lenscratch, Diffusion Annual IX, Plates to Pixels 2017, L’Oeil de la Photographie, South by Southeast Photomagazine, The Hand Magazine, Seities publication, Fine Art Magazine, DE (portfolio), and more.