Bremner Benedict‘s photography exhibition Re-Imagining Eden is about to open at the Griffin Museum of Photography’s gallery space at the Stoneham Theatre in Stoneham.
Here, the artist discusses her art, the exhibit, how photography explores our perceptions of and relationship with the natural world, and the dissimilar artists that inspire her.
Tell us a little bit about your upcoming show.
This project, Re-Imagining Eden, pictures my daughter moving from youth to maturity in settings that portray her on-going experience with the natural world. Our society is involved in a vast cultural shift where the direct experience of nature is being replaced by a virtual one. How this ultimately will affect our society’s attitudes towards nature and its resources is a question for our modern era. The arc of my daughter’s participation – from childlike fascination to wistful fantasy to disengagement – is a metaphor for society’s move away from identifying with nature. It corresponds to our greater separation from the natural world.
What led you to become a photographer?
I took a year long trip around the world and wanted to remember many of the things I saw. I was traveling with a photographer. So I picked up a camera and eventually went to school to learn more about the history of what other photographers have done, how they see the world and why photography is important.
What excites you about photography as a medium?
Photography is unique in that it can picture perception. It reflects back to us how we perceive the world – emotionally, intellectually and culturally. It is as important as literature in letting us know where we are as individuals and as a society and what we find important to pay attention to. It also has the power to move us emotionally to action as well as to perceive things we have never imagined.
Do you envision a new wave of environmental artists/photographers that share your concerns/interests?
It is already happening – I think it began in the 1970’s with the New Topographic Photographers. As the impacts of climate change are felt more fully, photographers will be addressing its issues more and more as they document the times we live in.
What is the most surprising response you’ve had to your work?
Someone asked me if my daughter was in danger of being hurt by one of the animals….in the dioramas.
Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring?
What are you currently reading?
Bird on Fire by Andrew Ross
Favorite art in a Massachusetts museum?
In the Boston MFA there is a sculpture – it’s a box with different sized bottles inside and it is constructed of mirrors but it reflects inward instead of outward.
The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Bremner Benedict’s Re-Imagining Eden exhibits at the Griffin Museum at Stoneham Theatre in Stoneham, 9/12-11/10, opening reception 9/25, 6:30–8 PM).