Candace Karch, born and raised in Philadelphia, has been taking photographs for over thirty years. Her love of photography began when she discovered a Kodak brownie camera as a child. After graduating from The University of The Arts, she packed her bags, hitchhiked, hopped trains, rode planes and documented her travels. She settled down in California for a few years, but the East Coast was yelling her name into a bullhorn. She headed back to her hometown, opened Bambi Gallery and pioneered the art scene in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. The Gallery’s presence was key in establishing The Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor. After a successful run Ms. Karch closed the doors in 2011, but continued to independently curate until her light bulb moment: Time to root for herself. Currently she is working on “The Ms. Ulmer Series” as a book while pursuing and promoting her other works.
Marie Ulmer is a 97 year old artist who I began to represent at Bambi Gallery in 2007. We became fast friends and we are still friends. She has made a piece of art everyday for the last ninety years. For thirty five years she worked at the Free Library of Philadelphia as a commercial illustrator. During that period, she continued her studio practice as a fine artist. Her art work, which spans over eight decades, includes a wide variety of styles and mediums. Some of the most striking works for me have been her self portraits. She used herself as a model primarily because, as she put it, “I drew who was available.” She is an only child, who was never married and without children, and she devoted herself to art, her constant companion. I have great admiration for her dedication and persistence regarding her art.
I have been photographing Marie for over five years. The idea for a book project began two years ago. My goal is to produce a book that will include my photographs of Marie in conjunction with her self portraits, with one as early as age seven. In the years that I have been photographing her, I have discovered her alter ego, or the personality she never explored, has developed in front of the camera to become my muse.
To view more of Candace Karch’s work, please visit her website.