My concept began with the following Elie Wiesel quote, “Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking and loving and dreaming. At night everything is more intense, more true. The echo of words that have been spoken during the day takes on a new and deeper meaning. The tragedy of man is that he doesn't know how to distinguish between day and night. He says things at night that should only be said by day.” For me, this involves the clarity and excitement of night, a time when I personally feel most alive and creative yet simultaneously the most lonely and isolated. Night can exist as a sort of alternate reality due to our altered state of mind and perception. In this environment, we can live through our dreams pursuing desire, intimacy, and connection. Somehow, daylight leaves us once again in a stark reality where intimacy is difficult and the night before is left as fragments and memories. I wanted to create a visual narrative for this concept that would be laden with the emotionality that Wiesel captured in his writing.
I strive to create a surreal visceral atmosphere in my work using experimental techniques with a focus on portraiture. I felt that this concept would provide a good opportunity to explore portraits that convey emotion and mood through utilizing lighting, long-exposures, and aesthetic techniques. Using a Canon T2i DSLR, I employed a Canon Speedlite 430EX II external flash with colored gels to freeze motion trails, creating ghost-like images with the added effect of the colored gels on the mood. I used the flash & gels in tandem with a handmade lens kit made from the lens components of an antique Kodak Duaflex camera. The handmade lens kit adds a soft blur & grittiness with an antique, nostalgic feel that is fitting for my concept. I also chose to combine multiple portrait images taken with my handmade lens kit in Photoshop using a layering technique to create collages that have the same visual feel and emotional atmosphere as my other images, while combining elements from the dynamically colorized photographs to create a sense of coherency throughout the project. I directed my model to harness a sense of tension and feeling that could visually convey my literary inspiration. These techniques layered together produced images that are dramatic, emotive, and surreal.
O WHAT can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.
I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist and fever dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.
I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild
I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look’d at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.
I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend,
and sing A faery’s song.
She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
“I love thee true.”
She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept,
and sigh’d fill sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.
And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d
On the cold hill’s side.
I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—“La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!”
I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.
And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.
Kristen Henry was born in 1990 in Panama City, Florida. She grew up all across the United States in Florida, South Carolina, Kansas & North Carolina. In 2015, she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Henry has exhibited her work from a Summer study abroad program in Iceland in the Fall of 2013 at the Gatewood Gallery of UNCG. Her senior art show is planned for exhibition at the Gatewood Gallery in the Spring of 2015. She plans to attend graduate school in the Fall of 2016. Henry currently lives & works in Greensboro, North Carolina.
2611 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, NC 27403 | 336.688.7026 | email@example.com | kristenhenry.webflow.com and kristenhenryphoto.com
Born 1990, Panama City, FL | Lives & works in Greensboro, NC
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
B.F.A. Photography 2015
UNCG Icelandic Photography Exhibition
Gatewood Gallery at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC 2013
The Coraddi, Spring 2013 Issue, “Untitled”
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Art & Literature Magazine
Sarah Martin, “Wanderlust… Iceland, It’s A Lot Cooler Than You Think,” Modern Ink Magazine, Published September 18, 2013.