Photographer of the Week #192: Dannielle Bowman

Dannielle Bowman, born and raised in Los Angeles, is now based in and around New York City. Bowman is a recent Yale MFA graduate, one of three recipients of The Baxter St at CCNY 2018 Annual Juried Competition, and a summer 2018 resident at The Center for Photography at Woodstock. Her most recent work focuses on landscape, monument, and artifact carefully transformed through the formal nuances of black and white photography. The result is a deconstruction and reimagining of material memory, historical hierarchies, and the role of photography as a colonialist device.

“I am currently inspired by landscape photography of the Western U.S. from the late 1800s, specifically photography that was commissioned by the U.S. government to accompany geographical land surveys of the western territories. I am fascinated by the idea that the images made by photographers like Carlton Watkins were used by the government to gain control over the land for the purpose of land preservation. The images made by Watkins and his peers became the access point to those locations for people who did not have the privilege to see for themselves, not to mention the indigenous people who were forced out. Looking at these photos, I began to ask myself questions about privilege and power gained through access to land and information. I became interested in challenging the views or the information handed to us through the selective telling of certain histories based on what information has been deemed important and what information has not. The question of which histories are to be preserved has for me become a photographic, formal question of what should be held in the light of the known versus pushed into the darkness of the unknown. I am using light and shadows in a very specific way, pushing the shadows to be deep but retain some detail, to conceptually point to information emerging out of darkness, out of the past. The shadows in the work are a metaphor for information that has been left out museums and history, as well as the more personal┬áparts of our individual histories that we choose to forget. What do we want to hold up to the light and what do we want to fall into darkness?”

For more information on Bowman’s work, visit her website.

Bowman’s work is on view at the Yale MFA thesis show, July 12th- 25th, at David Zwirner (533 West 19th location). Baxter St @ CCNY’s Annual Juried Exhibition on view August 16-19th.