I met photographer Loren Berger a while back when she introduced herself to me as a source for cool art for the hotel projects I work on. In my industry, most artists come to us by way of art consultants. Not to insult the creative trades, but as you can imagine, those that live in the right brained world aren't always the best at marketing themselves and doing the business end of running an art business - hence the need for art consultants and galleries. Loren is an anomaly in that she is great at staying in touch and promoting her work. I love that, but of course, I also LOVE her photography. She has such a great eye for detail and has such a way of finding the unusual in ordinary objects. I did a little Q&A with Loren recently.
Top: Tibetan Prayer Flags Bottom: Study of Three Elements
Jess: What are some of the foundations of your inspiration?
Loren: I grew up in a household that was extremely attentive to design. My mother would take any void or empty space and bring to it an unexpected combination of lines, colors, contours or textures. This applied to absolutely everything around me; the surface of a coffee table, a bedspread, the flow of furniture in a room, house plants. Every single element in that house was choreographed.
Jess: So, did this lead you to pursue a career in design?
Loren: No, as I grew up, I developed a disdain for all this attention to stuff and its placements, arrangements. I thought it was supremely trivial. I wanted a sight on tougher subjects: I developed a profession as a journalist and as a legal investigator focusing on political corruption, white-collar crime, corporate fraud, etc.
Jess: What is the connection, if any, between that work history and the photography you’re doing now?
Loren: When I first started photographing about five years ago as a hobby , it quickly became apparent to me that I was using the same skill set I had to practice on the job – that is an intensive study of detail. I am not concerned with the grandiose in photography – a 360-degree panoramic view of a city skyline or a spectacular mountain range at sunset does not appeal to me. If I were to approach a complex investigation looking for a single smoking gun, I would be sure to fail. The process more often involves knitting together a string of lesser details to form a pattern. It is, first off, seeing the significance in the small.
Top: Spring Blooms Bottom: Untitled
Jess: How would you describe your aesthetics?
Loren: I am most interested in the fundamental; the reduction of a scene into one or two primary details with a palette of two to three colors at the most. This is how I compose my shots in the camera, and this emphasis allows me to think about form/shape, contrast, tone, and negative space. I am compelled as much by these elements of design as by the actual subject of the photograph itself.
Jess: What subjects most often draw your eye?
Loren: Pavement and concrete. I know it is unpopular to say this given the emphasis on green design and eco-friendly materials. I love the light on asphalt in the afternoon.If you spend time with a crack in the sidewalk, you can come to see great elements of harmony and serenity present there; in the contour of line.
Top: "Spring Rain" Bottom: Random Construction Site Find
Jess: Where would we see your work?
Loren: My images have been installed throughout the public interior spaces of condominium projects in New York and California and have also been specified as guest-room and lobby art in hotels such as the Hilton, Hyatt and InterContinental.
Jess: What has been the biggest surprise for you along this recent road?
Loren: That I have more in common with -- and owe more of a precious debt to -- my mother, who never knew my photographs, than I would have ever believed just a few years ago.
All images courtesy of Loren Berger