Carol Isaak was a participant of PhotoLucida in April of last year. I got the opportunity to sit down with her for 20 minutes and review her work. Her focus, China, showcased an outsider’s view of a foreign landscape. Bright color, beautiful architecture, and a sense of place fill her images with life.
Core Sample: China
I photograph NOW. My worldview is as a “social documentarian.” I look at societies thru their material culture in order to understand the population primarily by documenting their objects, as well as documenting the lives of women, some men, and some children.
My photographs are not timeless; quite the opposite. Markers anchor us to a specific time, especially images of material culture. We recognize the time-signs by historical references, garments, vehicles, architecture, juxtapositions, or by something in process that inevitably gets completed.
My goal is to present bodies of work that tell the backside, or the inside of the story, the private side, the small picture, not the global, general big picture. I search for the intimate, which reveals something larger. Core Sample: China describes certain visual conventions (like the pierced spaces in window coverings), and the contrast and tensions between the different realities that are lived and aspired to. But it is a country in flux, and that movement is vital to its wellbeing as the population explores long suppressed traditions and newly government-encouraged innovations.