Bronte Sommerfeld – Untitled (2015)

A recurring thought I have about image making is the extent to which image makers are largely motivated by tangential compulsions. Pictures are taken to ensure that moments are remembered, to give voices to experiences which would otherwise pass silently into darkness, etc–it’s not so much about the image as what the image represents.

Whereas, I tend to think of ‘pure’ image makers as those who employ pictures as a sort of map for how they see the world around them.

Those with the former impetus are generally astute practitioners of the latter–but the lesson in seeing is secondary to that which the image bears witness.

I believe it’s easier for an image maker of the former stripe to achieve critical recognition and stature within their lifetime. And although I can’t in good conscience favor one at the expense of the other–the work of the latter strikes me as the path of most resistance.

Sommerfeld’s work seems to be of the latter variety. This image feels as if the image maker saw something in a moment and raised her camera to her eye guided by nothing more than precocious instinct.

And what’s captured is fucking fascinating. The texture of the carpet, the suffused light with soft shadow stretching from the drawer knob insinuating a broader world outside of the frame, the mirror fragments presenting ostensibly naked bodies in a seemingly impossible configuration; the synesthetic texture of the carpet.

The trouble is: with the disembodied reflections presented at the center of frame, the angle of the baseboard, although flattering, sets up an imbalance that is in point of fact too strong to be resolved by the drawer’s vertical line or the drawer’s horizontal in the upper right corner. (Lining the drawer’s veritcal with the frame’s left vertical third would have resolved this but created the problem of losing the knob–something that I think would detract from the image. Thus, the real question is more or less carpet. My instinct screams more–I am and will forever remain a texture whore; but I suspect Sommerfeld would veer in the opposite direction; either way the difficulty of the diagonal baseboard becomes the sole compositional stumbling block in the image and can therefore be summarily addressed.)

Lastly: Sommerfeld is a truly interesting young woman. And if you consider that she made this video as a 16 year old high school student, I’m fairly certain you’ll understand why I would be completely remiss as a curator if I didn’t nudge you, my dear followers, in the direction of her endeavors.

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