Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Monday, November 8, 2010

A Walk Through The Universe: The Fleeting Moment, The Backward Glance, Week 2

The second week of November and I have a thermometer that reads 73 degrees outside...hard to believe I'm here in South Dakota!  I have had a delightful week corresponding with an artist whose work speaks so eloquently to these ideas we are pondering, "the fleeting moment, the backwards glance".  

I can't quite recall exactly how I found Kira Sheker and her Etsy shop, Labyrinthine Nature, but once I did I knew that she was exactly the person I was seeking! Her photographs, which I saw first, had an ethereal quality that captured moments not-so-fleeting at all.  Then I realized many of her photographs were made with a pinhole camera and I was doubly charmed.  Of course! The pinhole camera....the perfect way to slow down time and capture a reality that eludes us in our race through the day. I've chosen just a few pinhole images from her website, which can be found here, but she is also making beautiful photographs, layered and ethereal, that are not pinhole. At her website and shop you can find her charming illustrations as well...what a creative, inquisitive soul! And, I also encourage you to take a look at her beautiful blog here. Kira has given us quite an insight into her creative process and what fuels her ideas about life and making art. I'll turn it over to her, beginning with her favorite quotes!

"I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited." - Sylvia Plath

From Jane Eyre, a quote that pulled me out of a slump:
"Only one thing I know; you said you were not as good as you should like to be, and that you regretted your own imperfection - one thing I can comprehend: you intimated that to have a sullied memory was a perpetual bane. it seems to me, that if you tried hard, you would in time find it possible to become what you yourself would approve; and that if from this day you began with resolution to correct your thoughts and actions, you would, in a few years, have laid up a new and stainless store of recollections, to which you might revert with pleasure."

"Do you really think it's wise to try to push the sun back down before it rises?" - from one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite musicians - Emily Haines (Listen to it here: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgSYwqjlAsU -it's reallllly good!) 

I love to tell a story, and I’m always keen to create a narrative through my artwork, but sometimes I do it in the way of a type of abstract magical realism.  When I went to college, I actually studied literature and had fallen in love with magical realism, but I soon realized that it had always been a part of my own endeavors to create.  In doing this, at least with regard to my photography, I like to use long exposure times, layered images, and pinhole photography. I'm very much interested in dreams, symbolism and the life in-between, what cannot be seen to the naked eye. I'm also keen on representing buried memories that are formless, but hound us in our conceptualization of the world.

Although I am a great fan overall of photography, it's the blurred and abstract images that enchant me, the distorted view of the pinhole, the magical world of layers, the surrealism of double exposures, and the altered view of the plastic lens that intrigue me most.  But out of all these wonderful possibilities, my heart continued back to one over and over, and that was the image of the pinhole. When I first set eyes on pinhole images, my heart raced and fluttered and I felt strangely as if I’d come home. As with all pinhole images, it takes the ordinary mundane existence and transforms it into the extraordinary, breaking established rules and allowing for a different perspective.  Movements that are so subtle we cannot capture them with a “normal” camera or even with our own eyes, but they are captured with a long exposure on a simple lens-less camera.  One of the joys of pinhole photography for me is the process, which takes patience, something I’m usually lacking. 

With regard to pinhole, mostly, it is the movement I'm drawn to, the dreamy, softly distorted portrait of something as mundane as a woman having breakfast.  Is she really there, or is she a remnant of a memory, an entity that no longer breathes?  Perhaps this is reality captured on film and our own eyes trick us into believing something else, a mirage of what is actual truth. 

In these blurred images, the mundane becomes bizarre, strange, and uncanny – things by which I am forever fascinated and to which I am constantly drawn. By having neither lens nor light meter, the pinhole has nothing separating “reality” to film.  The lack of a viewfinder and lack of regularity, especially with regard to light, gives the photographer an element of surprise when the film is developed, something that I find highly exciting.  The pinhole image is almost never a “straight” shot; it is satisfyingly unpredictable and allows collaboration between the photographer and film, nothing else. 


As for inspiration, I can pretty much find it anywhere, whether it be a snippet of an overheard conversation or a phrase in a song. In photography, I've been influenced by, or at least found inspiration in, Diana Bloomfield, Francesca Woodman, Sarah Moon and Ellen Rogers. Other artists I've been influenced by are Edward Gorey, Michael Sowa and Frida Kahlo. But mostly, I'm in awe of those who are diversified in their works or are self-taught. It gives me great incentive to venture forth and do what I want to do myself and not worry about whether it's the "right thing" or not.

A lot to think about here and I know you'll want to follow those links to find out more about Kira, so here's a recap!
Etsy shop

Thanks so much for being here and I hope you're enjoying your walk through the universe! 


  1. Oh wow, beautiful words - all of it. there are quite a few quotes in Kira's text too to savour. Thanks for sharing!

  2. So glad you enjoyed it...and yes, lots to savour! Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. Great find, Patti. Lovely quotes and images here. There is a misconception that among the arts photography is the most realistic and static because it simply finds, frames and captures an image with very little alteration. But in fact, there are many wonderful artists out there creating works of great subtlety and imagination using their cameras (and I don't mean digital manipulations) - as Kira has shown it can be used as much to see what isn't there as what is. A photographer friend of mine named Abbey Schneider has a new series of photos that ties right in to your themes of memory and transience - she places photos and mementos of a person or occasion in water and freezes them and then takes a photo of this melting collage, literally working against time to capture the image - talk about fleeting moments! She doesn't have a huge online presence, but her flickr stream that includes this series is here:


    Thanks again for a thoughtful post!

  4. G., thanks for your comment about photography...how true. But even the straightforward photograph is so compelling....a moment in time, unaware of the unfolding future. Thanks so much for the link to Abbey Schneider's work!!!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!