Spatial Isolation

 For someone primarily focused on photography, I find space to be an ever-present force, which constantly affects my body of work. Working within a frame, I am interested in attempting to create ambiguous layered spaces, which push beyond the border and allude to what the eye doesn’t see.

 Spending the better part of my life in Manitoba, I feel I have a strong connection to rural spaces and small towns, and I find my art practice to be reflective of that. A lot of my photography takes place outside of the city, and deals with the relationships between people, their lifestyle, and the space in which they live. A solitary lifestyle and more specifically, isolation within the winter season is what drew me to a project I did last year. The effect the surroundings have on humans, physically and more importantly, mentally became my primary focus. I spent an extensive amount of time during the 2012 – 2013 winter exploring the frozen shores and forests around Lake Winnipeg, hoping to achieve some kind of personal connection and understanding of the space around me. I also began to conduct interviews with local people about their own experiences spending winters out of the city. Visually and conceptually, the resulting project evolved quite a lot from where it originally began. The body of work that emerged was a series of photographs dealing with the human condition of loneliness and the slow descent into mental isolation. The human figure, when present, became just another layer blending within a still and silent space, creating tension and cutting any figurative representation of a person. The project that began dealing with physical human interaction within real spaces, became more of a study into psychology and the space within our consciousness.

The cabin used in the photographs belonged to a friend of mine, who was at the time spending the winter alone while working up north. His own account was an important contribution.



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9 Responses to Spatial Isolation

  1. smcabrera says:

    Do you think you’ll explore space more further through photography or in a different medium? Random thought, it would be interesting to see if you could use photography as a tool to capture many different spaces and combine them into one space like a collage.

  2. I think photography will play a key role, but I would like to experiment more with video for this particular project. Juxtaposing separate photographs and creating layers is an idea that’s interested me, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Jeremiah Valle says:

    Based on your last comment, are you then thinking of something similar to stop motion? Composing a conducting series of related photos in a rapid succession. I believe that if so the topic of space can also be reflected in the digital “space” in which the photos are played in.

    Good luck with you concept


  4. alaynafriesen says:

    I like your idea of layering images because the space between the layers I find would be equally as important as the photographs. I think what Jeremiah said about using stop motion could be an interesting way to address the component of layering the images. I am also wondering about when you said you want to “push beyond the border and allude to what the eye doesn’t see”, I’m just curious as to how you would interpret this in your work.

  5. For this particular project, I was really trying to emphasize the fragmentation of the figure and the space. I was hoping this would create a certain tension within the frame, which posed the question of what was happening in the scene that wasn’t visible within the photograph.

  6. Sara, I love your idea of making a collage!! It could really tell the viewer a story of that specific space, and really influence us to feel a certain way about it. These pictures are beautiful Serge. They really make me miss my cabin when I see them. I can almost smell wood burning in a stove! Some of them really make me wonder what else is happening in the scene, like the mirror in the bathroom. I want to know more of the story. The very first photo you posted, of the path in the snow, makes me feel isolated as the viewer. Like I am in the middle of nowhere. Were you going to use these as part of your project Serge? Did you want to tell a story with your photos? I do like Jeremiah’s suggestion of stop motion as well; it would definitely be original and quite cool to see!! Either way I know you’ll own it, I loved your work last year in class! Especially the video you did. If you did do a video again for this project, do you think you’ll include sound? Or keep it silent?

    Good luck good luck!


    • Thanks for the comment Alyssa! Ive started working on a concept that will be a video, but completely different from what I did last year. Sound will be one of the most important aspects, but I don’t want to give too much away!

  7. Hey Serge,
    Good post. I like the photos, especially the first landscape. I have a real thing for abstraction and colourfield paintings, so it resonates for me along those lines. I also was drawn to the photo with the mirror and the one with you at the table and someone else (you again?) in the next room. I like the sense of present space and inferred space.
    If you do a video, think about presentation and how that allows your audience to relate to the vid. When we see it on a big screen, it’s more like going to a film in a theatre–we see it that one time, and maybe never again because it’s ‘owned’ by someoe else who controls the showing parameters. If it’s on a small screen on a cart, it’s similar–we’re watching it in a classroom. If it’s on a decent-size digital picture frame, it’s more like something we could own, like a photo. We might relate to it more as something in our own lives.

    A crusade of mine lately is to convince digital and video artists to make their works available to others to buy and put in their own homes. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a frame or monitor on a wall at home with video art on it, just like we have painted art and photographed art on our walls?

  8. boydg2013 says:

    i really enjoy your concept and to be more spaceific the method you went bout discovering it.

    you work reminds me somewhat of Todd Selby’s. Not all in concept neceseraly but in theme.

    just out of interest take a peek

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