Kristin Satzman Photography
Luminous Veil Portfolio
Seeking Grace Portfolio

The photographs in the series entitled The Luminous Veil, Visions of Sanctuary developed out of an exploration of urban parks and gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area. After several years photographing on the streets of the city I started seeking out parks and public gardens where I found a sense of quiet and tranquility that blocked out the city's nervous energy. I was drawn to the feeling of privacy in these spaces that felt secret and hidden from the outside world.

I photographed in the fog because it emphasized the sheltering aspect of the parks and lent a sense of mystery to the landscape. The parks, some as small as a city block, others encompassing an entire mountain, are natural but man made at the same time. One feels a sense of escape but still feels protected by the familiar. It is the transition between the familiar and the unknown that I wanted to capture. Some mystics believe there is a thin space in certain places where the gulf between us and the divine is not so wide. It is that sense of presence that I wanted to communicate. The idea that in the midst of our busy and challenging lives there is sanctuary that we can tap into for soothing and strength.

The images in the series, Seeking Grace, are an attempt to capture and express the spiritual energy found in sacred spaces. I am photographing in churches, temples, graveyards, and gardens, places we visit to interact with the divine. I want to capture an essence of the mystical experience that many people seek, a moment of transcendence.

I am photographing these scenes with an inexpensive plastic camera called a Holga. This camera has few adjustments and is unpredictable and Its lack of precision appeals to me as I want to release some control over the image making process. Creating a photograph becomes a dialogue between myself and something else, similar to a prayer. The imperfections of the lens allow for the image to transcend the object at hand. Solid statues become soft and fleshy, a tree trunk feels almost human, and light seems tactile. The large size of these selenium toned gelatin silver prints emphasizes the softness and distortion created by the plastic lens.

The line between what is seen and what is felt is illusive. In our present world where fear seems to dominate the senses, communing with a sense of spirit seems almost necessary for survival. These images are a search for that sense of spirit and an attempt to make it tangible.

The craft of photography has always been important to me and it is an intricate part of my photographs. Using traditional photographic methods, each piece is carefully crafted from negative to print. It is my hope that the viewer can find a sense of peace and self reflection in these photographs. To me they are a metaphor for the internal search for spiritual comfort and safety, and a desire to transcend the ordinary in an attempt to experience the mystical.

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Copyright © 2006 Kristin Satzman Photography