Kate Warren is a queer artist based in Los Angeles and Vermont, where she is doing an artist residency in a cottage on a glacial lake. She makes creative nonfiction work that explores identity, secrecy, and memory through photography, writing, and quilting. Her photography has been recognized with awards from the Lucie Foundation, British Journal of Photography, PDN, American Photography 36, and Athens Photo Festival. She was a keynote speaker on feminism and photography during Apple’s StoryMakers Festival and FotoWeekDC, guest lectured at Georgetown University and George Washington University, and was named one of Refinery29’s 30 Under 30. She has degrees in business and writing and loves a good turtleneck.
Loss of Central Vision
"Loss of Central Vision" investigates the trauma of emotional repression, secrecy, and memory. Set in the pastoral and harsh Vermont landscape, I use photography and quilting to explore the isolation of Puritan values and emotional violence within my family. New Englanders are famously private; family heirlooms become stand-ins in a void of human connection. The project explores the role myths and fictionalized memories play in binding families together in intergenerational trauma. Shrouded secrets shimmer below the surface, elliptical narratives alluding to a sense of ambiguous dread and unspoken loss. The project is an effort to bridge those voids and heal.
I moved back to Vermont to make this work because my mother going blind; I am a fourth-generation quilter, so we are collaborating on a series of cyanotype quilts. After months of failed surgeries, she lacks central vision in her left eye, an apt metaphor for how the pandemic has left the world with our perspective forever altered in the wake of global trauma. She is learning to move through the world with her vision forever altered; the project recalls that sense of disorientation. We both carry the genetic markers for macular degeneration; I am a photographer destined to lose my sight.
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