Interview with Cindy Konits
Cindy Konits’ work explores family history and memory in the face of evolving technologies. With a BA in Psychology and Education and Urban Planning masters degree, Konits received a full merit scholarship to Maryland Institute College of Art MFA in Photography and Digital Arts program, then became adjunct Associate Professor, Stevenson University MD, teaching Video Art, Darkroom and Digital Photography. In 2011 Konits began a full-time studio-based practice. She was selected 25 Best in Fine Art and Photography in 2019, 2020, and 2021 by the Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design, and was awarded First Prize in The Photo Review 2021 Competition. She has won awards in numerous categories in the 15th, 16th, and 17th Julia Cameron and Pollux awards. Her work has appeared in The In-Between Journal of New Media Photography, PhotoNostrum, and Shots magazines.
Cindy is represented by The Commotion Virtual Salon, Vancouver BC.
How did you become interested in photography? How did you start?
Interest in the concept of time led me to invest in a camera. As the youngest of three siblings by significant age margins, I have thought about time passage since childhood. Even if only an illusion, the idea that photography could stop, or freeze time held great appeal and ultimately the empowerment of a camera and darkroom work drew me in. With a graduate degree and short career in Urban Planning, I finally switched gears to dive fully into photography. My first photographs from beginning photography classes resulted in solo traveling shows. A year or two later I won a full merit scholarship to an MFA program in Photography.
Could you tell more about your creating process? Do you shoot on analog or digital format? Color or bnw? Why?
My work explores complexities of family history, memory and identity in the face of evolving technologies. Each project evolves from a family story. Sometimes details of the specific story are apparent in the work, and more often they are veiled. In any case, the deeper the personal resonance is to me, a universal truth is likely to emerge that resonates with viewers. I am also curious to explore a new technology with every new project. My first project was created with black and white film in the darkroom, the second with color film in color darkroom, followed by an interactive CD-ROM for museum exhibition, then a digital video shown in 19 film festivals world-wide. Next I worked with radical enlargement of still frames from found 8mm family film c.1940 and extended this project by manipulating still frames with algorithms written in Processing code, a computer language for visual artists. In most projects a subject matter intrigues me and I learn a new technology or adapt a tool I am familiar with.
Do you want to share something about the submitted body of work?
The images submitted here are from the project “This Room”, inspired by an aphorism written by the Scottish poet Don Paterson: “Almost everything in the room will survive you. To the room, you are already a ghost, …, coming and going.” “This Room” is also inspired by a now obsolete professional instant camera in my possession. The project explores the psychological space generated by architecture — of a house, a room, or surroundings in nature and its impact on a person’s ability to discover internal space to dream, imagine, and access memory. So much of early life is lived in rooms of a house and its natural surroundings. The architecture itself resonates deeply with the relationships, emotions and words spoken in it over time. This space and time is embodied for the venture into the world outside. In this way, the spaces of known architecture are integral to sense of self through time, and the flow of life will forever be a rhythm between home and away.
How do you get inspiration? Do you have any artists or photographers that inspired you?
I am inspired by old family photos, memories, old technologies, new technologies, and social or global topical issues I want to address with my work. The postmodern self-portrait artist Cindy Sherman has fundamentally influenced all my work. Otherwise I am always discovering artists whose stories and work I admire, and techniques I want to imitate.
What are you working right now? Where are you going with your work?
Presently I am designing the artist book “This Room: Architecture and Interiority” and also developing a project with the working title “My Kiev, My Ukraine” inspired by the artist Barbara Probst who lives in Munich Germany and New York City. I will interview and photograph subjects from my 1992 work “Now I See Kiev In My Dreams”. My purpose is to replicate Barbara Probst’s unique approach using multiple cameras firing from different angles simultaneously to explore the artifice of photography as a representation of reality in this case in the context of the personal and global devastation wrought by Russia’s war on Ukraine, enabled by misrepresentation and propoganda.
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