We are our perceptions and I hope my vision is a reflection of the beauty that my subjects reveal. I am not interested in photography as reality, but as a journey into the possibility of what else there is; be it a memory, a moment in time or a feeling of self, vaguely recalled. In how they are made and how they are viewed, photographs are self-portraits that lie somewhere between imagination and dreams. They travel to where the mind has been and offer a fleeting glimpse into each of us.
I am still seeking those elusive images that take your breath away. We have all made many beautiful images, but ones that we will be remembered for at the end of our careers…not many, not many.
“Reflecting on the Edge” began two years ago when I was reflecting on life. Perhaps it was that milestone age 65, or the loss of many dear friends, but one starts to reflect on career and accomplishments. Photography as I know it has been digitally turned upside down. Ipads have replaced galleries, iphones have replaced photojournalist and there is new visual acuity everywhere. I spent a lot of time looking at the water,…thinking.
Wetting any subject loosens the creative block which has been rare in my life. Although I have worked with water images for more than 35 years, I felt like I suddenly learned how to see what wasn’t there, to know how to see it. As I stared at the model in the pool, I returned to the water at a different level. I saw the entire series in my mind and like the water with its ever-changing possibilities, I sought to see reality reflected in forms created by light and shadow—but so altered that the boundaries between reality and reflection blur.
These images are made entirely in camera as I wait for the moment when the contrast of texture, water and fabric combine with the body to create allusive forms—wonderfully distorted robust figures that remind me of Botero or colorful patterns reminiscent of Klimt. Every moment, a new revelation, as every cloud and breath of wind disturbs the water and my palette is continually reborn.
You do not see the world as it is—you see the world as who you are. The job of an artist is to interpret what she sees and feels.
Please visit www.opalenik.com to view more work or enjoy the article in F11 magazine August 2013.