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Beth Yarnelle Edwards, Dietlinde, Photography (Germany, 2007)
Beth Yarnelle Edwards

June 2  - July 9, 2011
Opening: 1. June 2011, 19.30 Uhr
Introduction: Christoph Tannert

Beth Yarnelle Edwards | Suburban Dreams

The private dreams of a lifetime become manifest particularly in one's domestic sphere, a space that is formed as well as informed by its inhabitants. Even our choice of furnishings betrays much about the notions and desires with which we invest our lives. In our homes we create a microcosm, inside of which we are at liberty to roam, to interact with others and to indulge our personal interests. Beth Yarnelle Edwards documents residents of American and European suburbia in complex photographic compositions, thereby drawing a multifaceted portrait of humankind in the context of its domestic habitat. With her staged imagery the American photographer explores the question of what our homes really reveal about our secret life’s ambitions, and offers up a variety of different living concepts.

The viewer gains insight into the ritualised routines and individual penchants of the residents, who often appear accompanied by a pet. Posing in their kitchens, bathrooms or living rooms, surrounded by their personal accessories, the subjects of these portraits seem to want to narrate some aspect of their lives through their choice of dress, the nature of their activity and the manner of their bearing. Edwards’ photographic works are an amalgam of documentary and staged photography and incorporate elements of self-invention. Before each portrait session, the photographer deliberates extensively with her subjects, and together they develop an elaborate, virtually cinematographic setting as a basis for the ensuing improvisation. The ultimate scenario is only determined during the shoot, thereby lending the pictures an air of spontaneity. The colour-saturated photographs, composed with graphical and spatial precision, draw upon art-historical references such as „Las Meninas“ by Diego Velazquez or documentary photography by August Sander. The portrait subjects often have something stereotypical about them. Their direct gaze toward the camera and the beholder bespeaks their pride in themselves and in their homes. Some of them appear to be captured unawares while being deeply absorbed in their activity or their being. Edwards’ photographs depict a diverse array of emotional states and attitudes of living that at times evoke a nightmarish ambience.

The photo book „SUBURBAN DREAMS“ has been published by Kehrer Verlag.

Beth Yarnelle Edwards studied photography at San Jose State University, California, and has been working since 1997 on the project „Suburban Dreams,“ for which she portrays people in their homes in Europe and the United States. Her works have aroused worldwide interest and have been featured, among others, at Château d’Eau in Toulouse, France, and at the Lianzhou International Photography Festival in China. The artist has received numerous prizes and awards and is represented in many collections, such as at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and in The Noorderlicht Collection in The Netherlands.