Meryl Tihanyi Member Since January 2008 Artist Statement MORE WORK COMING SOON!
Inspired by such photographers as Diane Arbus, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston as well as painters Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe, I began to consider the world around me and sought a way to visually interpret it. Hopper’s sense of isolation and dolefulness always struck a chord with me, along with the vivid, sensual beauty of O’Keefe’s palette. Her flowers were identifiable as both organic forms yet abstract enough to have their own identity. I sought to explore these possibilities through the medium of photography. Diane Arbus’ photograph of the twins, for instance, was such a poignant example of how, in a moment, one can see the duality that can live in the same place. I was blown away by that image and its parallel to life itself. This awareness made me realize that opposition exists in everyone and is observable if one pays attention. So, I started to pay attention.
I began photographing flowers and other organic things uncovered another dimension that was always there, but not immediately recognized at first glance. My nude images are a particularly personal body of work, as they are reflective of my love of form, movement and space. As a former dancer, I understand from the inside out, how dance can meld physicality with sound, form, color, texture and mood. It can be a very provocative form of expression. The nudes, with this understanding, are a self-portrait and demonstrate how the space we occupy is as significant as the space we don’t; the tension and dynamics between positive and negative space as a reflection of the tension that exists, knowingly or not, in life.
I am a bit of a voyeur. I watch others watch; I watch the details in the scene before me; I feel a quiet satisfaction in seeing that which others seem to miss – as if it were a secret that I am privy to. “Quiet” is how some have described my work. Never static, just quiet – as if the volume was turned down and the pace slowed. It is in odd contrast to my personality, which is at times a bit frenetic, animated and spirited.
I see a theme of singularity in all of my photographs – no matter what the subject matter. There is a sense of loneliness or solitude that seems to appear in every image. There is an analogous abstract relationship between my photographs and the notion that in life, we are all connected, yet all alone to experience our lives.
I am a bit of a purist when it comes to photography. I really struggled with the transition to digital technologies. My resistance came not only because of the quality differences and limitations, but also the general move away from creating the picture in the camera. In my opinion, the use of photoshop, the integration of many different photographs to create a single image is not really photography as much as it is photo-illustration or a collage of sorts. While I now shoot primarily with digital technologies, I limit my alterations to the images to those I would do in a traditional darkroom. I am a photographer, not a computer illustrator!
I rarely plan a shoot. I create a brief sketch in my minds eye of what I would like to do and allow a spontaneous process to occur. When I do plan a shoot the results are usually stiff, cold and lack breadth.
Photography, like any art form is experiential. I don’t want to influence someone else’s experience of my pictures. Some will like them, some won’t. Some will be bored and others inspired. I invite you to form your own opinion! I take pictures because that is what I do and it allows me to express a portion of how I see the world and that is evolving all the time.