Diane Powers Los Angeles, USA
Diane Powers (b. 1966 Los Angeles, California)
I am a visual artist who studied photography and darkroom techniques under the instruction of Chris Acuna-Hansen in 1996 at this time I was providing sports photography to the public. These days I focus on portraiture and psychological inspired conceptual pieces. Spells and Wishing Wells made its first debut at the Granate Theater in Buenos Aries, Argentina in the Fall of 2011. A collective exhibition celebrating women in photography as well as an open forum for female writers and directors of the theater, a show called Circle of Women / Fotopreformance.
The Spells and Wishing Wells look toward an intuition of oneself through the notion of fate and fable. Perceptions of a mask of secret longings and delicate exploitations lead to the haunting questions of destiny and a time lost.
My photography can also be found in Blue Tape’s (editor) book Dreamhouse. I have exhibited in several group exhibitions in both California and Argentina. In addition, I have had the honor of being featured in online exhibits and articles including my last for Radio Rai Italian radio this year.
Diane Powers was chosen by photographer Sarah Lawrie
Laatikkomo’s interview with Diane Powers September 14th, 2016
L: Where are you from? Or what cities, and/or countries have you lived in – what places have influenced you?
DP: I’m from Whittier, California a town within Los Angeles county. My father moved us to Bonaduz, Switzerland for his work and then The Netherlands to stay with family when I was a baby. We then settled in Whittier a couple years later where I raised my own family with my husband and two children. When my children were small photography was a way of becoming involved in their education, I suppose this was my biggest community involvement by way of baseball photography and school yearbooks, this is when I started my first business in sports photography inspired by my children and the people of this town. Later, my European ties took me to Europe again where the traditions and history still have a hold on me which I imagine emerges quietly in my work.
L: What is your first memory of photography?
DP: An annual slideshow given by my father, it was my absolute favorite thing. My brother and I would vibrate with excitement and anticipation for the show and we were never too proud to shamelessly beg for it. My father was an excellent photographer charming us with family photos and travels from overseas to Yosemite National Park.
L: Most, but not all, of your images are taken in black and white. What interests you about black and white film?
DP: There is a poetry in the language of black and white film. Its subtlety appeals to my quiet nature, you can get quite dramatic without raising your voice, so to speak. Its imagery has a distinct way of revealing the soul and exposing emotion. I first became serious about photography and fell in love with it while developing black and white film in the darkroom. Robert Frank once said about black and white photography, “The eye should learn to listen before it looks.” This is sensory interaction best felt through this genre.
L: The first word that comes to mind browsing through your images is Romantic, or Nostalgic; perhaps something of the past or otherwise unattainable. What techniques or subjects do you consciously choose to create timelessness in your images?
DP: In many ways photography to me has become a way of perceiving fragments that elude me with words. In which case, I’m probably the least technical when creating pictures. The process for me is much like painting when it comes to editing. I’ve always been a lover of light for as long as I can remember, I like to wash a canvas of almost all the light then redeposit it slowly here and there.. painting a branch or the tiniest bit of sunlight on some hair. I sometimes mix digital and analog and even shoot some of my prints using a mobile phone. I’ve combined images and played two against each other in a diptych. I’ve also scratched and burned prints to achieve the mood I’m in which tends to give a nostalgic prose. The magic is in seeing the transformation and realizing the story in the final image. Our hearts remember and the photograph is a tangible piece of that ideology.
L: Your work seems to focus on women for the subjects of your images. What does femininity mean to you, and what aspects of it do you find most inspiring?
DP: My work is personal drawing on memory, literature, music or the ache of longing, part of which is my femininity being a woman myself. I’m drawn to the gestures that women make. The language of a hand or an extending neck that speaks to you from behind. There seems to be a less specific mystery to the female expression in the way of emotion.
L: What is one of the most important questions that you ask yourself, or would like to inspire others to ask, through your photographs?
DP: When many different interpretations are revealed to me it’s a gift. I’m attracted to the transcendences of symbolism and clues which lead the viewer to their own conclusions based on their experiences of life. I would ask, what does it mean to you?
L: Could you list 5 (or more) words that you were thinking about when you made this work (shown in Laatikkomo)?
DP: Autumn, innocence, loss, fable and love.
Thank you so much Diane!