Los Angeles–based photographer Susan Burnstine’s (born 1966) Absence of Being is a haunting, intensely personal and yet extremely universal exploration of the subconscious world, which began with her highly praised first monograph, Within Shadows. Burnstine captures images that purge her dreams. Finding no existing camera that could create what her mind envisioned, she began to experiment with building her own and molding her own lenses until she arrived at the prototype for the handmade cameras she continues to use.
The results are instantly recognizable black-and-white images, which have been described as 21st-century impressionism. Burnstine does not use any of the post-production tools available in today’s digital environment. All of the effects one sees in a Burnstine photograph are created in the camera at the time of exposure of the negative.