Lynn Karlin

Born in: 1948, New York City

Lives in: Coast of Maine, USA

Media: Digital Photography

Describe your work in 3 words: Painterly, romantic, sensuous

See More Work: and Instagram@lynn.karlin

Still Life with Grapes & Plums - Digital Photograph 24 x 16 in.

"My still life series was inspired eleven years ago by a book on 19th-century amateur photographer Charles Jones, an English gardener whose passion was to document fruit and vegetables. The opening quote by Vincent Van Gogh who said, "How difficult it is to be simple." resonates with me."

What themes does your work involve?
Food. We taste (rather we eat), we touch (maybe not enough). But how often do we slow down to take in the aroma and the beauty of the food we grow. My move to a Maine farm after leaving NYC in 1983 took my life in a new direction. A photographer all my life, my still life photographs of vegetables, fruit, flowers, and edible plants are a natural progression. They are about the obvious but often overlooked bounty of the harvest.
Describe your creative process.
I begin most days by going to local farmers markets and selecting produce that I bring back to my studio, I use soft, directional light, This natural light has an unpredictability that keeps me alert. Working on this series has heightened my awareness of what I put before my camera. I think color, form, texture, patina – the simpler the better. I try different set-ups. Sometimes the finished photograph falls right in place and other times I struggle all day to hopefully get one image I love.
What influences your work? What inspires you?
Influenced by 17th-century Dutch painters, I realized that beauty can be found everywhere and every day if we just take the time to really look. Vegetables have taken on a new meaning for me. Not only to provide nourishment, but to view them as works of art: each one unique and with their own personality. My passion lies with the challenge of finding the right combination of subjects, painterly light and composition to excite me- and hopefully intrigue the viewer.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good or great art is like trying to find perfection. It is not really possible. If the process excites and compels the maker to complete the work that is what is important. The memories, feelings, emotions, pleasure or pain it brings hopefully will make people stop and think about things in a new way. Art should make you want to linger and question - question everything.
What is the role of the artist today?
I choose art, or it chose me, from very early on but I didn't know it was art I was creating. It was something I needed to do, It made me happy and fulfilled. At times it made me frustrated and sad. The role the artist plays is so very important, more than ever, to bring awareness and information out in the open and to share beauty and hope in this rapidly changing world.

This page was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist