Elisabeth Sinsabaugh, Passage, 1990-01, from the series Re-Awakening the Sublime, silver manipulated print

Passage, 1990-01, from the series Re-Awakening the Sublime, silver manipulated print

Elisabeth Sinsabaugh

These photographs came out of my need to find the horizon – to push past buildings, trees, and mountains that populate the cities and countryside. Not long ago I found the ocean. I discovered it was not unlike the fields of the Midwest I had photographed several years before. The waves – ongoing and forgiving – are like the endless fields of corn, evenly spaced, meticulously planted and tended.  The oceans and the fields each meet the sky with such grace – where the sky becomes water and the water becomes sky. In this space I feel at home – where things may be unresolved and ever reaching.

There is an inexplicable urgency driving my process. I make photographs because it is the only tangible proof of my experience I have to offer. My process is spontaneous and without caution. 

Re-Awakening the Sublime
Alternative interpretations can expand our idea of landscape. Standing on my island surrounded by corn I watch the land endure in beauty… giving rise to the senses… we have made a deep impression. A scar now rips through what has always appeared to be solid ground. As you drive the stretches of highway the land appears to be unchanging. Destruction is not always apparent. Beauty is not always discernible.

I ask myself what it must feel like to be continually violated – to give without the voice to resist. When I began to photograph the land I was surrounded by I did it with anger. I ripped and burned negatives in an attempt to visualize an experience that could ordinarily only be felt. I tried to describe the silence, vast space, and delicate balance that is reflected in the landscape – a living force in constant flux. There are moments within the landscape that reflect both destruction and beauty – a transformation that usually goes unnoticed. These images are a witness to the transformation and to the sublime.

Elisabeth Sinsabaugh, a resident of Port Chester, NY, received a Masters of Fine Art in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been displayed at the Robin Rice Gallery in NYC, Arts Space in New Haven, Swanstock Gallery in Tucson, the Foyer Gallery at William Penn College at Iowa, and Long Island University. She is the recipient of an Iowa Arts Council grant and a fellowship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Elisabeth has been an educator affiliated with the International Center for Photography in NYC since 1996 and has been an artist-in-residence in the Chicago public schools. She is currently the director of photography for USA Networks. She has also served as a photo researcher and was a photography editor for Psychology Today, Spy Magazine, and Mother Earth News.