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Matinee: Karen Halverson Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

16 October 2021

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 418th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Interview with Photographer Karen Halverson.

In this 6:39 video from the Monterey Museum of Art, Karen Halverson walks us through her current exhibit at the museum, entitled Trees, Chairs, and Power Lines.

Power lines?

Sure. Ever notice how compelling urban landscapes are just ruined by some utility pole of crisscrossing power lines or other detritus of city life? So has Halverson. But instead of finding them annoying, she finds inspiration in them.

When she was a five year old living in Syracuse, N.Y., her mother took the kids on a three-month tour of the American West. That trip fixed the arid character of that landscape in her mind and has since inspired her photography.

When she began photographing landscapes, "It was sort of a no-no to change anything in front of the camera," she recalls. She doesn't change anything, she says, but not because of the principle. "But because of what I find there."

Like power lines.

"The thing I like about including a human element," she explains, "is that it fixes the photograph in time as well as in place."

As she talks about the exhibition, the video presents the prints she's talking about. We get a walk-through of the show with the best docent you could conjure up: the artist herself as she discusses everything from the overall geology of a location to small details in the print it would be easy to overlook.

In fact, it begins to be a little fun to hunt for the human elements that are not always present but can be hidden in her photographs.

You won't want it to end. And lucky for you, the exhibit runs until the end of the year.

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