Birthe Piontek is a fine art photographer based in Vancouver BC, Canada. Originally from Germany, she moved to Canada in 2005 after receiving her MFA from the University of Essen in Communication Design and Photography. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in both solo and group shows, and is featured in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Museum of Applied Arts in Gera, Germany. Birthe’s project The Idea of North won the Critical Mass Book Award 2009, and was published as a monograph in 2011. She was recently nominated for the AIMIA AGO Award, and her project Mimesis was selected for last year’s Fashion & Photography Festival in Hyeres, France. Birthe’s work has appeared in a number of international publications like The New York Times Magazine, Le Monde, Wired and The New Yorker among others. Today we share her series Lying Still.
The images in Lying Still examine notions of the self, mortality, sexuality, intimacy, roles and relationships and their ever-evolving structures. Through the use of staging, I look at the artist’s relationship to the camera, while both observing and being observed. Acting as disruptions to the daily routine, my images use rich iconography and symbolism that displaces the viewer’s expectations of the everyday, creating a psychological landscape that is as treacherous as it is poetic.
With the inclusion of found press images from the 1950s and 60s depicting natural disasters, macabre scenes, women performing and modeling for the camera, and other black and white photographs, my intention was to create a multifaceted dialogue that spans generations and brings into question female representation and its relationship to the camera. Through the blending of created and found imagery, my work points towards collective experience. Overall the work exposes the desires, urges and fears that exist latently in our subconscious and reveal themselves against the backdrop of the domestic space.
To view more of Birthe’s work, please visit her website.