Natalie Christensen | Pool Series

Pool ladder in lane 3 | Natalie Christensen

For me, art is a glimpse of the sublime in ordinary place.

“I am repeatedly drawn to the swimming pool as a subject of my photography because for me they are a metaphor for the unconscious. In American culture, pools serve on one level as a recognizable symbol evoking the luxury of leisure. The opportunity to drift aimlessly in the backyard pool has always been an irresistible fantasy. However, a darker interpretation of the subject can evoke repressed desires, unexplained tension and looming disaster. These photographs of a manufactured oasis suggest a binary connection between the world above and the world below, linking submersion in water with the workings of the subconscious.”

Last night i dreamt i knew how to swim | Natalie Christensen

I live in Santa Fe New Mexico where my work is inspired by commonplace architecture and streetscapes. I shoot every day and am almost never without my camera. I don’t have to go anywhere special to make my photography; instead I find my images around shopping centers, apartment complexes and office parks. I dismantle these scenes to color fields, geometry and shadow.

Are these chairs taken | Natalie Christensen

The places I frequent for my images are probably not what people visualize when they think of the city I live in, a major tourist destination with a carefully cultivated image. I choose to shoot in locations that may be viewed as uninteresting or even visually off-putting. This is exciting and challenging for me, to “see” something hiding in plain sight. Much of my professional life has been spent as a psychotherapist, and my photography as an extension of that work. Both have called me to explore what is hidden from view, those aspects of the self or the environment that we want to turn away from or simply avoid.

I suspect it is our nature to ignore what is unpleasant, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in these ordinary places. When I find it, it feels like I have discovered gold.

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