Lynn KasztanovicsTitle Unknown (200X)

On the infrequent occasion I’ll publicly admit to ‘being a photographer’ and because I live in NYC where everyone seems to know something about art, the question arises: which photographers influence your work?

I never know how to respond. I mean Francesca Woodman and I are involved. But who doesn’t like her? She was that rare and singular wunderkind, we term a ‘prodigy’. I’m nearing the 10,000 hour point when it comes to studying Sally Mann’s work. I adore Jeff Wall for both his technical skill and the narrative angle in his work. I’ve yet to encounter a Stephen Shore frame wherein the composition fails to exemplify perfection. (Plus, he’s damn hilarious… if you don’t leave his work feeling like you’ve spent time with the subversive uncle at the family reunion who convinces the little one’s that the moon is made of green cheese and that you have to hold your breath when driving through tunnels because the air is poisonous and then leaves the kids’ parents to deal with the fallout…then you haven’t really engaged with the work properly.) Recently, I’ve been finding myself flat out hypnotized by Mark Steinmetz’s heavenly eye and the way it locates transcendent beauty in mundane exigencies.

Despite incredible talent, your average Jane on the street isn’t going to know Allison Barnes or Prue Stent or Igor Mukhin. (I’ve mentioned Traci Matlock and Ashley MacLean and increasingly folks have some idea of who they are/were.)

The truth is–and probably also the reason my work will never be deemed ‘important’–in my heart of hearts, Lynn Kasztanovics is the most important photographer in the history of photography.

As with most things I feel so completely through and through, I have a hard time knowing how to explain this preposterous insistence except to say her work is the appositive of the seven syllable Fuegian sentence word Martin Buber mentions in his astounding I and Thou:

They look at each other, each waiting for the other to offer to do that which both desire but neither wishes to do.

Sans all the abstraction: her work is like seeing something beautiful and in the moment of realizing you want to touch it, it reaches out to you and tucks a stray strand of hair behind your ear then smiles before looking away shyly.

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