Rule Breakers: Amy Friend

“I never want to see another picture of ________.” Industry veterans share their pet peeves on themes in contemporary photography. In this series they present their “rule” along with five photographs that break it, in an effort to show that great work is the exception to the rule.

Rule Setter: Kat Kiernan, Editor-in-Chief, Don't Take Pictures
Rule Breaker: Amy Friend

I am not normally captivated by repurposed vintage photographs, and yet I swooned over Amy Friend’s series Dare alla Luca. Starting with a collection of vintage photographs, Friend manipulates each image by creating holes in the print, allowing the light to come through. She states:

By playing with the tools of photography, I “re-use” light by allowing it to shine through the holes in the images. In a somewhat playful and yet, literal manner I return the subject of the photographs back to the light, while simultaneously bringing them forward. The images are permanently altered; they are lost and reborn, hence the title, Dare alla Luce, an Italian term meaning, “to bring to the light” in reference to birth. 

The reason I generally pass over repurposed vintage photographs is not because I don’t like the aesthetic. Rather, I find it difficult for those viewing the work to move beyond the novelty of the old-timey anonymous photographs. The conversation inevitably becomes about the original photograph and all but ignores the transformed image. Friend’s work immediately commands attention. While her hand is present in each piece, her alterations to the photograph do not compete with its existing elements. A baptism emits a spiritual light, a sailboat moves through sunlight glistening on water. The points of light find their place within each scene.

—Kat Kiernan

 What Is Done in the Darkness, Will be Brought to Light

What Is Done in the Darkness, Will be Brought to Light

 I Dream of That Day

I Dream of That Day

 Late Summer Evening, Ontario, 1927

Late Summer Evening, Ontario, 1927

 The Time I Was in Cape Breton

The Time I Was in Cape Breton

 From the Album

From the Album