Heather M. O'Brien, "Diana", from the series "Essex", 2009, c-print, 20 x 16"

Heather M. O’Brien, “Diana”, from the series “Essex”, 2009, c-print, 20 x 16″

Heather M. O’Brien

“It is a mistake to decipher images as if they were ‘frozen events.’ On the contrary they are translations of events into situations; they substitute scenes for events. Their magical power is due to their surface structure, and their inherent dialectics, their inner contradictions, must be appreciated in light of this magic they have.” – Vilem Flusser, Towards a Philosophy of Photography

When a structure you know well suddenly becomes obsolete, where do you turn? The series, “Essex”, addresses the relationship between time and space – how do we make a new beginning while holding on to our pasts? How do memories influence our current ocndition and our idea of home? These questions lead me to dig deeper into the history of a specific place and explore how time and memory effect the way we see.

When working with subject matter that involves emotional human presence within a context of a particular landscape, a sense of time is quite important. I am also interested in the everyday – the notion of the familial and the people who are connected to a particular space they call home: “a mixture of nature and culture, the historical and the lived, the individual and the social, the real and the unreal, the place of transitions, of meetings, interactions and conflicts, in a short level of reality.” [1] [1]Henri Lefebvre, Clearing the Ground, 1961. The Everyday (Documents of Contemporary Art), Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press, 2008, p. 33.

Heather M. O’Brien (Brooklyn, NY) was born in Boulder, Colorado and raised the United States and Europe. She holds a BA from Loyola University in New Orleans, LA and an Advanced Certificate from the International Center of Photography in New York City, where she received a Directors’ Fellowship. In 2010, she was awarded a residency grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council on Governor’s Island (NYC). A photographer and visual artist, her work explores identity, family, and social structures.