Irene Imfeld

October 15 - November 14, 2015

These images are derived from specific places and specific natural forms found in the Mojave Desert. They operate in a liminal environment where identity can be difficult to ascribe, in the transition zone between depiction and abstraction.
The camera transforms the actual scene into a flat composition—this is the first level of abstraction. My process takes this further by reversing positive and negative tones and altering color. By adjusting color in a loose manner, in effect using both additive and subtractive color combinations, I am able to interpret otherwise unseen aspects of the picture. I try not to display any particular technique by working softly, without adding things that would alter the forms and/or be seen as mine. I consider it analytical photography as opposed to directorial photography. I use the medium in a subtle way, understanding the possibilities of digital technology but using it moderately to preserve the original natural forms.


Zone of Transformation follows an earlier series (Nothing, in the World) developed over time by living with imagery I was consistently drawn to. It was not preconceived. I made photographs, studied them, made more. Simultaneously, I began to compare them and to alter the color values. This move toward abstraction came directly from the imagery itself.
This process causes a reduction of recognition but not of complexity. Working on the edge of ambiguity can get closer to the essence of that pictured but, more importantly, to the viewing experience. This work is beyond recording information. It concerns personal experience, below the surface, of a spiritually motivated response to the world.
By relinquishing habits of thought about nature the viewer can make space to feel connected with the world in a new way. If one can refrain from naming a visible form (as wood‚ or granite), it can become a window into the formless. Personal awareness can meet with something larger and find an inner opening to a different realm.
I look to the natural world for inspiration as an alternative to the pervasive imagery of fashion, design, and advertising in our culture. My images bring to mind deep time by contemplating the life of rocks, trees, water, etc. I present the scene as a small part of the cosmos. It may seem confusing but chaos is, after all, natural order.


. . . nature . . . delights in muddle and mystery . . .
-Virginia Woolf, Orlando
A print-on-demand book is available from

Irene Imfeld, Zone of Transformation, 2681

Irene Imfeld, Zone of Transformation, 2681