All photos courtesy of Amy Friend
Amy Friend has a portfolio filled with hauntingly beautiful work. Many of her pieces have a unique connection to the past. I especially love the way she breathed new life into vintage photos with her series Daré alla Lucé.
What inspires you?
This has always been an easy and yet hard question for me. I am inspired by so many things, but the guts of what I love come from “notions” of time, memory, place, water, life and death, freedom, infinity, the stars, movement, silence, stillness, the unknown… this list fluctuates and folds into my work in so many ways.
When you were working on Daré alla Lucé, what inspired you to alter the photos? Do they have a personal connection to you? If not, how did you find them?
The Daré alla Lucé series actually began by “mistake”; I was interested in the object of a photograph and exploring what a photo really is/means. I aimed to somehow preserve the idea of their importance, hoping to comment on the idea – that all we see is not so “disposable”. I began to embroider directly onto the photos. As I did this I realized the holes that were made with the needle let light pass through the images. It seemed to make them hover between that state of what is real and imagined. I felt that these shards of light passing through the images commented more on the actual nature of the medium of photography than what I initially did with the embroidery.
Some photos in the series are personal- they were take from family albums but most were anonymous. I found many for sale online and others in vintage shops. Some contained titles while others remain a mystery.
Which project has been the most rewarding for you so far?
The projects that are still tinkering away in my mind – those are most valuable- they keep me going.
Where do you do most of your work?
I often revisit places that I know well and yet I ache to venture out, to be surprised by the unexpected. My habit is to see how a place has changed. To see it in different seasons or at dawn and high noon. I love the changes that I cannot control as much as I equally hate them. It is the magic of what comes from the photograph – what I cannot see beforehand. I love the surprises.
Soon This Space Will Be Too Small has a detailed story to go along with it – Agua De Noche seems to have a similar theme but there is no accompanying explanation. Where did it come from – what is it about?
The Agua de Noche series was inspired by a story I heard in Cuba. I am married to a Cuban (now Canadian); at one point we listened to a Cuban woman tell us about her son that “escaped” Cuba by boat in the night. She never heard from him again, two years had passed and she was alone on the coast with the ocean reminding her of all she did not know. I heard stories of clothing that would wash up on the shore. That is where this series came from. These stories. The lost ones. Even though what I heard was bleak, the work is also about hope and dreams, and freedom. About chance, struggle, and loss.
What do you hope to accomplish through your photography?
As cliché as it may sound I want to “touch” people. To gently smack emotion into the air.
What are three things you never leave the house without?
My little note book, I am an neurotic note-taker. I love on the spot details, ideas, thoughts that I know will dissipate if I do not catch them. (This in the only thing I can think of!)
Who are some of your favorite photographers?
I love many photographers but find that I am equally inspired by all artists. Here is a start Petah Coyne, Bill Henson, Dianne Bos, Sally Mann, Elsa Mora, Anish Kapoor, Caspar David Friedrich, Marc Seguin, Motoi Yamamoto, Shary Boyle, and of course, Anselm Kiefer.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I have a project that has been a seedling for years. It consists of a vast collection of letters that my Nonna saved from her relatives overseas. They are all gone now. I have inherited their words. They will become something…I envision installations, fabric, watery glass, photography…