Tamsen Wojtanowski | Philadelphia PA, United States
Short bio: Tamsen Wojtanowski is an artist living and working in Philadelphia, PA. She received her BS from Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY and her MFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Her work has been included in recent exhibitions at Artist-Run, The Satellite Show, Miami, FL; COOP Gallery, Nashville, TN; Soil Gallery, Seattle, WA; Lux/Eros Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and The Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR. She has taught at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; Arcadia University, Glenside, PA; and the Corcoran College of Art + Design, Washington, DC. She is currently a member of the artist-run exhibition space NAPOLEON, Philadelphia, PA.
Why do you photograph on film? I am drawn to analog methods in photography, namely B&W film and alternative processes, due to the physicality of these ways of working. The chemicals, the paper, the negatives, the brush strokes are my way of connecting with the image and to my creative drive. Alternatively, I feel the digital screen acts as a barrier between myself and the image, making me feel disconnected and unfulfilled. It is that age old adage, if you can reach out and touch a thing, it’s real, and if you can hold it in your hands, it’s yours.
What is your work about? My photography focuses on the individual experience of navigating our increasingly complicated, and counterintuitive society. My current body of work is a good-natured parody of today’s world. The images are created as social commentary on current trends and events. I use the cyanotype process and pair it with handmade negatives to create numerous exposures that are layered on top of one another, in order to complicate the visual plane. In this way, the print imitates our modern airwaves, full of news, headlines, gossip, Facebook feeds, Instagram feeds, Twitter feeds, small talk, and TV – but what is real? And what does it all mean? These prints are made in response to feeling overwhelmed, and as an attempt to stave off feeling utterly helpless. In addition to content, in the process of creating these images, I am interested in photography’s overlap with printmaking and painting. It is a very malleable medium that I think is often pigeonholed into being just one thing. I want to see how far I can push it and what that exploration might find.