Karin Rosenthal Statement

Artist Statement
Coming from an earlier interest in portraits and street photography, my Nudes in Water are less about eroticism and more about body as the human vessel for our multi-faceted but brief existence on this planet. As I discovered and fell in love with still waters, I began to use their magical and transformative powers to create psychological, metaphysical and surrealistic statements about our lives.

I was drawn to dreamlike and surrealistic images largely because of my family’s history. Many relatives perished in Nazi Germany and those tragedies set much in motion for my life. I realized that we are shaped by factors that may not be within our direct experience, but lurk in the background in a significant way. That which is in front of our eyes is not a complete reality. As I explored ways to express this complex sense of being, I found water to be my ally in creating illusions and simultaneous layers of meaning made up of contradictions and conflicts, conscious and unconscious worlds. I wanted “objective” reality to be countered with several levels of ambiguity and mystery, so that what an image seems to be is stronger than what it is. At the same time, the images are graphic and abstract, with a tension of positive and negative spaces.

After living close to the earth on islands in Greece, a deep body/land connection entered my Nudes in Water quite unconsciously and never left. It expands an enduring exploration of the human life cycle within our habitat that has been part of all series of nudes I’ve created.

Process Statement
My Nudes in Water images are straight shots taken with a Hasselblad on 400 ASA film. I used a Zeiss 150mm telephoto lens or a Zeiss 120mm macro lens. Most are printed on Agfa Multicontrast Classic glossy paper and selenium-toned.

My B&W Infrared Nudes were taken with a Nikon 35mm camera and 55mm macro lens on Kodak infrared film. I intentionally developed them for a softer, less high contrast look than most infrared images have. Prints are on Forte Polywarmtone semi-matte paper, selenium-toned.

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