ARTIST SERIES

The artist writes: “Most of the photographs I made in the early 90s were of solitary male figures in urban environments. I would follow them as they walked down streets and alleys into oncoming traffic and vacant lots. Perhaps I was searching for a male figure in my life, the father that left when I was seven. This anonymous male eventually became a kind of animus for myself out in the world; cities became metaphors for my mind. After years of pursuing this man, I found he was always elusive; I could never capture him up close.

“One day a friend suggested I photograph a female friend. I immediately felt intimidated, in unfamiliar territory. I imagined that somehow my pictures would turn out differently, simply by including a female presence in the frame. That is exactly what happened. The tone of the pictures was Immediately different; they became infused with femininity. It might have been because I photographed this friend of a friend much closer and in a domestic setting. Clothing and texture became increasingly important to the pictures. My experience though was that the connection to photographing this friend and later other female figures went deeper. There was the automatic and accepted connection to my mother, there was sexual attraction and a kind of presence that remains undefined. The most personal way I can describe the feeling evoked by photographing female figures over a 12-year period what that I felt I was becoming acquainted with my inner feminine, my animus.

“I have been practicing Buddhism for nearly 30 years. One of the basic teachings is that of feminine and masculine’s ultimate inseparability, spoken regularly in Buddhism as space and bliss’ inextricable relationship. In Buddhism and in the psychology of Carl Jung, the integration of inner masculine and feminine forces is one of the paths to wholeness and liberation from disconnection.

“My photographs of female figures, as those of the male figures, remain in shadow. Most faces are unseen. The pictures are not about any specific person or body. The pictures not even those of physical presences, but rather of ghosts temporarily inhabiting human forms.”

Work by Jason Langer