June Bateman Fine Art
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Artist's Statement

It is no longer "the thing itself" which inspires me to photograph. I began photographing in the 1960's, and now, after decades of working in photography, I have come to a more universal yearning. What was specific and narrowly focused has evolved into a spiritual thirst that is broad, deep and all embracing. I am moved by, and I long to touch that aspect of experience that is beneath vision, physical touch or descriptive language. I want to use a camera to photograph that which is beyond all we see. Photography becomes a spiritual practice, without needing a god or religion.

I still see myself as a somewhat traditional photographer even though I am now shooting and printing digitally. Digital technology has freed me from a narrow definition of the medium. I can take liberties with digitally captured information that were not possible previously. I can use content as raw material rather than as stated fact. I used to make a naturalistic description of what I saw, but that no longer interests me. Now I wish to abstract my material. Digital alteration of color changes an image so that it no longer illustrates the subject but becomes something new. And now too, there is the issue of motion. In the last decade I have photographed tree branches blowing in the wind, clouds, waves and mountain streams - only subjects that move. Often I didn't even know exactly what the camera saw (the subject moved between focusing and shooting). It was like intuition taking the picture. It gave me a freedom I hadn't experienced before. But now I am photographing rocks - and they don't move! I have had to learn to create a sense of movement through focus. I am trying to get a story from the rocks, to feel the movement of their being, not their surface.

Sensing my subject has overtaken physical looking. How wonderful to be fully engaged in a visual medium and have the technology to free myself from that which is seen! It's meditation in action. It's a connection to the felt rather than to the seen. This is the landscape I must inhabit and portray.

About the Artist

Philadelphia artist Nancy Hellebrand has been awarded both a Guggenheim and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1984. Solo shows include The National Portrait Gallery in London; two exhibitions at Pace/MacGill, New York; the Morris Gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia; the Paul Cava Gallery and the Locks Gallery in Philadelphia; and the Heidi Cho Gallery in New York. Group exhibitions include the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography in New York; Tate Britain in London; The National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC; the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; and the Southeast Museum of Photography in Florida. She has taught photography for more than 15 years, at Yale University; Parsons School of Art (now the New School), New York; and the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) and Bucks County Community College in PA.

Nancy Hellebrand's works are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Museum of London, the Art Museum, Princeton University, The Philadelphia Museum of Art and other collections. There is a monograph of her early work, "Londoners at Home, Photographs by Nancy Hellebrand" (published by Lund Humphries, London, 1974) and she is included in other books and periodicals.

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