Untitled shot on a Mamiya 645 by Heidi Systo
Every now and again I crush hard on internet famous photographers. For example: Kimmie Eliot Fung, Traci Matlock (aka Rose) & Ashley MacLean (aka Olive) and Lynn Kastanovics.
With Ms. Fung’s shift to more textile oriented work and Traci and Ashley’s ‘breakup’ the last three years have remained crush-less. (Even if Ms. Kastanovics never chooses to exhibit her work again, she will always hold a place in my heart not unlike the one occupied by Francesca Woodman.)
Ms. Systo describes herself on her website as:
[A]n artist living in Brooklyn who uses medium format photography to explore issues of identity and voyeurism in the era of social media.
She is who she appears to be.
As far as artist statements go the above hits all the right notes: simple, unadorned and streamlines.
Since the era of social media, photography is more accessible than ever. From the perspective of teenage girls it is a tool used to gain attention through provocative imagery posted on sites like Facebook, Flickr, ad [sic] Tumblr. My work explores the relationships between photographer, photograph, and ultimately how it is consumed at various levels in the realm of social media. I portray these attention seeking girls at different levels of development, from passive and curious, to sad and aggressive. As an artist, I am shifting the power away from the viewer and on to the subject. No longer an object to be either discarded or idolized, she now becomes a window into the unsettling viewer’s gaze.
This again towers over most undergrad artist statements—which suffer from the default ego-tripping blather setting; but a young artist whose work is so precocious, edgy, technically savvy and stands on its own, doesn’t need to be explanations.
Unless the statement is meant to reveal the artist is fully aware of what she is doing—and given the swaggering confidence of the photographic voice, doing so seems unnecessary/redundant. (Then I am admittedly kinda anti-artist statement…)
Regardless, I cannot recommend her work highly enough. Definitely check her out. Just don’t tell her I sent you. The lesser known fourth law of thermodynamics holds that: beautiful women render [me] incapable of managing fuck all more than stuttered, incoherent ramblings.
I’d rather not come off like a total heel to someone whose work I admire so much.