Lot 51
Tarrah Krajnak

Self Portrait as Weston Nude 1

Silver Gelatin Print
8 x 10 inches
Signed on the verso
Artist's proof
Donated by the artist

Through a series of ongoing self portraits and performances, the Peruvian-born, Ohio raised Tarrah Krajnak explores her fawning and fraught relationship to American masters of 20th century photography. In this image, Krajnak poses her body side by side with an Edward Weston photograph of one of his many influential muses. Differences between Krajnak and Weston abound: Krajnak is a woman, she is both photographer and subject, and she is brown skinned. Yet this is not simple satire; Krajnak relishes in the problematic canon of Western art, and acknowledges her genuine affection for Weston’s photograph. Krajnak is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA.

Community Perspective

Tarrah Krajnak’s wonderful Self Portrait as Weston Nude 1 explores her complicated feelings towards Edward Weston, best known for his modernist studies of nudes, peppers, and the California landscape. In a virtual studio visit (see Silver Eye YouTube channel), Krajnak describes locking herself into her studio alone for days to create this project, a brown woman inserting her own body into a conversation with the revered photographic masters, who, like Weston, were mostly white men. In so doing, she draws attention to the values implicit in Weston’s work and his mode of authorship. Weston’s vision celebrates the simplicity and elegance of natural forms. He appears to recognize and bring forth, with precision and compositional and tonal grace, an essential beauty that already resides in the subject of the photograph. But Krajnak turns this on its head. She foregrounds her studio as a constructed space, a laboratory for experimentation. She creates sculptural assemblages of which both the Weston photograph and her own body are a part. And where Weston collaborated with his subjects, but rendered himself invisible in his photographs, the cable release running from the bottom of the frame reminds us that Krajnak is both maker and subject. In her own words: “I am both the master and the muse.” Krajnak’s self-portraits assert both her visibility and her consciousness, at once vulnerable and in complete control, her processes as naked as her body. - Leo Hsu, Silver Eye Center for Photography Board Member and instructor of photography at Carnegie Mellon University

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For questions please contact Kate Kelley