From left to right – Bottled Water, Rooftop Swimming Pool and Posers
opens in a new windowWhen the Trees are Gone, Diana Cheren Nygren’s well crafted immersive series combines human and architectural interaction. These images are intriguing and humorous, asking us as viewers to linger a little longer, question our connections to nature, our communities and beg the question of human intervention in our surroundings. The content sneaks up on you. Of course that bather should be on top of a billboard. But then you stop, think again and realize that the marriage of these two ideas couldn’t be farther apart. Yet instinctively as the viewer it all seems so normal.
About the series –
Surroundings play a dominant role in shaping our experience. I treasure the city and try to make space for quiet contemplation within it. The question of the struggle between nature and the built environment is ever more central in urban life. In this series, relaxed beachgoers find themselves amidst carefully composed urban settings in front of dramatic skies. They are searching without seeming to find what they are looking for. Peaceful moments of strolling along the beach or standing listening to the waves while choosing the perfect spot to sit down, are inevitably infused with tension and frustration. The beach becomes rising tides, threatening the very foundation of the city. The clash of nature and city results in an absurd profusion of visual noise and little relief. The resulting images lay bare the illusory nature of my urban fantasy and the problematic nature of the future that lies ahead for humanity.
We followed up with a few questions for Diana about her process and her experience with the opens in a new windowAtelier.
Which of these images was the impetus for this series? How did it inform how you completed the series?
The image which was the impetus for this series is not among those included in the show. It has long since been discarded from the series altogether. While it comes out of earlier projects, this work is substantially different from anything I have done before. It took me a while playing around with this compositing of beach figures and urban setting to figure out what I really wanted to say and which images communicated that successfully. The responses of Meg, Amy, and my classmates to the work were critical in helping me refine my vision and the selection of images.
How the Atelier has helped you hone your vision as an artist?
Having photographed for many years, I believed that I had arrived at a style and point of view. I struggle at times to articulate it, but my focus was on narrowing my work. The Atelier, instead, pushed me to experiment with subject matter and styles that were entirely outside of my comfort zone and that I did not think I was interested in. Ironically, I think being pushed to reach in this way has helped to sharpen my voice rather than diluting it.
Tell us what is next for you creatively.
I would like to take the Atelier again. I have no idea if it will have as substantial an impact a second time around or not, but I think it’s a good addition to my practice regardless. I am also beginning work on a book project (or two).
About Diana Cheren Nygren –
Diana Cheren Nygren is a fine art photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her work explores the visual character of place defined through physical environment and weather. Place has implications for our experience of the world, and reveals hints about the culture around it.
Diana was trained as an art historian with a focus on modern and contemporary art, and the relationship of artistic production to its socio-political context. Her emphasis on careful composition in her photographic work, as well as her subject matter, reflects this training.
Diana’s photographs have received numerous honorable mentions from the Lucie Foundation and have been included in a number of juried exhibitions at Subjectively Objective, PhotoPlace Gallery, the Midwest Center for Photography, Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, PH21 Gallery in Budapest, Arlington Center for the Arts, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the Curated Fridge. A book of her photographs, “Capturing the Light”, was published in 2017.
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