The Photographic Alphabet: B is for Clarissa Bonet
Project: City Space
The urban space is striking – its tall and mysterious buildings, crowds of anonymous people, the endless sea of concrete. City Space is an ongoing photographic exploration of the urban environment and my perception of it. I am interested in the physical space of the city and its emotional and psychological impact on the body. These photographs reconstruct mundane events in the city that I have personally experienced or witnessed in public. Stark light, deep shadow and muted color are visual strategies I explore to describe the city. I use the city as a stage and transform the physical space into a psychological one. The images I create do not represent a commonality of experience but instead provide a personal interpretation of the urban landscape.
"Growing up in Florida, I was at home in a lush, tropical environment and car-cultured way of life. Eight years ago I moved to Chicago and was startled by my newfound environment. The landscape of the city felt wholly foreign—the sheer expanse of the city, the anonymous individuals brushing by and never to be seen again, and the large swaths of concrete that covered the surface of the city. To understand this new landscape and my place within it, I started making images about it and my experience of it, which lead to the body of work City Space which is still ongoing."
"The shift in my daily routine from the car to the pedestrian has been especially influential on my work and practice. I found that on foot I had a deeper connection to the city, specifically the street, and my experience of it. Mundane experiences of daily life became pronounced and I saw the beauty and strangeness in these ordinary moments that are often overlooked. My aim is to make images about the experience of the city, not to document it. There is something lost in translation between a photograph of a moment and what that moment felt like. I aim to image the latter and that is why I construct my images.
Although I create constructed images, I borrow from the genre and practice of street photography. I take to the streets by foot, roaming the surface of the city for hours at a time, reacting to what comes across my path. But instead of making my images when these events come to light, I stop to observe them, take notes in my sketchbook, and make a few snapshots with my iPhone. I consider these snapshots my sketches. Then, once back at my studio, I look over the material collected and start to piece the final photograph together."
"Stark light, deep shadow, and muted color are visual strategies I explore to describe the city. I use the street as a stage and transform the physical space into a psychological one. The images I create do not represent a commonality of experience but instead, provide a personal interpretation of the urban landscape. I am motivated to communicate my experience of the city via the constructed image. For me, it speaks in a way that street photography does not."
More of Bonet' work can be found on her website here.