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The Atomic Salon Diaries opens at Art Print Photo Gallery

By Victor Aguilar

It would be difficult to separate Laura Honse’s photographic work from the normal occurrences in her everyday life. She seems able to express in images and with a few accompanying words just about every incident that happens as her day evolves. For most people many of these incidents would deserve little attention or none at all, but Laura Honse always finds something interesting, an experience worth telling, a good photographic subject in just about everything she encounters throughout her day. Furthermore, she is able to capture and express it with impressive imagery and simple literary prose.

The Atomic Salon Diaries
Photo exhibition
Fri, Sep 13, 7:30pm
Art Print Photo Gallery
Correo 46

When she hangs a photograph in her studio or in a public space, she does it with great taste and flawless precision, taking the art of framing into her own hands, exploring every possibility of finding the perfect frame for the perfect image. She might find an old frame at a flea market and spend countless hours in the process of restoring it, while finding and attempting to bring out the right colors long since lost beneath, or by adding a few of her own to it. She likes to take risks, and by doing so has not only taken her art, but also the art of presentation, to another level. So upon seeing her finished work, not only are we confronted with a series of powerful portraits or testimony of encounters in her daily life, but also a masterfully accomplished and meticulous overall presentation. She achieves a complete and perfect installation, a flawless work of art, leaving no detail unnoticed.

Laura Honse was born in Pennsylvania, US in 1960. At a very early age she moved overseas and lived in New Zealand, Australia, Bahamas, Uruguay and Brazil. In 1978 she returned to the US to study at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she graduated with a BFA in 1983 after studying painting and photography. She then lived and worked in New York, San Francisco, Barcelona and Hamburg where she worked on exhibition installation teams in the cities’ main museums.

Her dedication and submersion into her photographic art is apparent in her work, as she mentions in her own words, “Photography is a means for me to reexamine and reinvent the world around me. I see an object, a person or a landscape and it draws my attention. Something almost unconscious happens, things fall together, like a play unfolding on stage. If I am photographing people, an interaction takes place. Sometimes I may initiate directing what I am looking for or feeling, but more often than not it is somehow carried over to those before the camera who seem to almost pick up an invisible script. In photographing objects a kind of interaction also takes place in an inanimate way. I would say that the process of photographing is more important to me than the actual final outcome, the photograph. Once the shutter is clicked then it is all over. The tension released, the moment collapses within itself, the curtain closes. There remains the memory on paper. Having a camera before me and pointed at someone or something is a confrontation in which I demand that what is before me involve itself personally in me, react to me and my existence, reconstruct itself to a higher level. I draw what is photographed into my world and I am drawn into theirs, and in this interaction something surprising happens. I find it a challenge to turn the camera onto anything, including myself, and create a friction, a newly discovered world, another perception of things that might otherwise go unnoticed or never exist.”

Besides photography, Laura Honse is also interested in collage. She worked for one year on a 16 meter wide wall collage outside of her gallery, using personal correspondence, found objects, magazine images, packaging, paint. She documented this whole process including the vandalism inflicted by strangers.

In her upcoming exhibit The Atomic Salon Diaries, Laura Honse not only captivates us with striking images and accounts of everyday life, but also with carefully achieved, challenging portraits of others she has photographed in the past. In 2007 she set up the Atomic Salon, her personal gallery-studio in Hamburg, Germany where she invited people, often from the cities’ streets, to pose in her venue. In contrast to many portrait photographers who often only like to express their own personal creative style or idealized vision when capturing people’s images, Honse creates situations and moments of interaction with her models that subsequently bring out the true aspect and character of her subjects, as they interact with her and her artistic vision, thus allowing for amazing and powerful portraits; each one an experiment and documentation of this very special interaction between photographer and model. With a same modus operandi she is able to capture in prose the occurrences that take place around her in everyday life.

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