Photolucida – Zelda Zinn

Zelda Zinn’s abstract images are fun. I love working my way through them. Taking materials that are so common and crafting new visions for them is really exciting to me. Zelda was part of our 2012 New Directions Crossing Territories exhibition,curated by Debra Klomp Ching. That image, from her series Natural Selection, was organic and mysterious, but the new images are bold, sculptural and all kinds of creative. The ideas of nesting comes to mind with Transformers, and Irresistible Air reminds me of rocks, and you know, as a geologist, I love a good rock. These images shift our assumptions of what is, and stretch our imagination to what can be. Take a look.


Transformer #0258

About Transformer

For the past several years, my work has explored the border between representation and abstraction. Using bits and pieces of mundane materials, I make pictures tasked with going beyond what they are “of.” Through the act of photography, the objects are transformed from small, throwaway sculptures to objects of contemplation. As photographs, the images are, inherently, records of what was in front of the camera. But what the camera saw were bits and pieces of insignificant components arranged by me. My pictures use the language of photography: light, shadow, tonality, translucence, abstracted form, line and detail to draw in viewers.


Transformer #7476

The pictures evoke, and at the same time frustrate meaning. They are ambiguous, suggesting multiple potential readings, while at the same time remaining images of practically nothing. Viewers bring their own experiences and biases to the work, and I facilitate and even encourage this human desire to find meaning by using the traditional hallmarks of fine art photography. What is presented is the raw material from which the viewer can assign significance or content according to her/his own predilections and experiences.


Irresistible Air #6895

About Irresistible Air –

This series marks another chapter in my continuing exploration of the grey area between abstraction and representation in photography. Here, I have manipulated plastic air pillows into ephemeral sculptural forms. They have been removed from their context, taken into the studio, carefully lit, and then recorded with my digital camera. Shooting the forms in this manner allowed me to utilize the language of traditional fine art photography: isolation of form, sharpness, rendition of surface and shape, tonal range, reflectance and transmission of light.

I am interested in engaging the viewer in dialogue with these pictures; my goal is to entice them to consider if and how they might go beyond what the photo is “of” to contemplate what it might mean to them, capitalizing on the human penchant to seek out and identify shapes and forms, and to assign significance. It is remarkable that such simple materials function as a screen onto which we can project our own visions, or simply appreciate the visual pleasures of light and physics.


Irresistible Air #9176

About Zelda Zinn  –

Zelda Zinn was born in Louisiana, and grew up in a big family in Texas, back when it was a blue state. Drawing and dreaming up contraptions were early pleasures. She fell in love with photography when she was 10 years old, having taken a magical photo of her best friend with a huge gum bubble covering her face. She attended an arts high school before studying the classics at St. John’s College. For grad school, she attended UNM, receiving an MA and an MFA in photography. A long-time photography teacher, she loves making photo enthusiasts of her students. Her work has been shown in numerous national and international exhibitions. She was fortunate to be awarded several artist’s residencies, including the Santa Fe Art Institute and Vermont Studio Center. She continues to be amazed by the worlds of nature and the imagination.


Irresistible Air #9840

For more of Zelda’s creative images, please check out her website.

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