Kellie Klein is a photographic artist living outside Chicago. She received her BA in Photography from Southern Illinois University and her MFA in Photography from Columbia College. For the past 30 years, Klein has been creating photographs that blur reality and question perception. She works in traditional and digital photography, as well as the 19th Century processes of cyanotype, Vandyke, and gum bichromate printing.
Klein’s work has been shown in numerous, galleries, museums, and universities including the Louvre, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Indianapolis Art Center. Her work is included in many private and public collections. She has received grants from the Agfa Corporation, Columbia College, and the Illinois Arts Council. Klein has been a nominee for the International Color Awards, the Lucie Awards, and the Exposure Awards. She taught photography at College of DuPage, and has taught 19th century photographic techniques at colleges and workshops throughout the Midwest.
My approach to photography is to create and combine images in a way that unites reality with memory. Using traditional black and white, non-silver, and digital imaging techniques, I strive to enhance the expressive impact of photography while generating multiple narratives that address issues of time and perception. My work also portrays my belief that an examination of memory, spirituality, and generational mores can lead to a wider understanding of self and society. The images I create are interpretations of forgotten memories and transitory realities. My photographs are metaphors for time, the only constant in an ever changing history.
Meditations on Water Artist Statement
A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable. ~William Wordsworth
Meditations on Water is a study of the universal temperament of water, as well as the environmental effects of light, color, and perception. My belief in the restorative power of water, informs and inspires my work. On a more personal level, the images are influenced by my interest in the sublime aspects of nature. The elements of nature that consistently remind me there is always something else, much greater than oneself.
The photographs in this series investigate the visceral and meditative facets of water, by examining the serene, turbulent, and dynamic characteristics of lakes, rivers, and seas. The majority of the work is a study of Lake Michigan, but encompasses other bodies of water, as well.
Whether a lake, an ocean, or the clouds in the sky, I see water as a natural metaphor for human disposition. Just as the Gales of November affect the Great Lakes, individuals undergo equally tempestuous experiences. Water can be as yielding, mighty, or as peaceful as the human mind. To emphasize these emotional qualities in the photographs, I often use long exposures and minimalist points of view.
Meditations on Water is an ongoing body of work motivated by the personal belief that water can carry us into “recesses of feeling” we might not have known existed. The images in this series are intended to remind viewers that water is a natural phenomenon that is as vast, mysterious, and fragile, as life itself.
Daydreams Artist Statement
Daydreams, is an ongoing series of photographs that explore those moments of fantasy that happen when we are awake. Sometimes the daydreams are my own, and sometimes they are observations and interpretations of someone else’s make believe. In either case, the resulting photograph is a moment when the lines between imagination and reality are blurred. Instances when thoughts and ideas are as present as they are absent. It is this, the interrupted sense of time and consciousness that I am interested in conveying. I seek places and moments that are pastoral, introspective, ubiquitous, or disconcerting. I photograph those instances when anything becomes possible if only for a moment. In an effort to make the invisible tangible, I investigate questions of human nature, existence, and spirituality. The transparency in some of the imagery refers to the fragility of life, relationships, or religious themes. In Daydreams, a walk in the woods can become a magical journey, or a butterfly can denote, hope, loss, or freedom. In this series, I photograph images that reside in the corners of my mind.
Childhood Artist Statement
As a child, I believed God had a long white beard, old houses were haunted, Snow White was real, the Pledge of Allegiance was a way of life, and Pandora had a box. Now, I am. Snow White is not, and there is no more pledging. Along with my imaginary childhood friends, the myths have vanished, and all that remains can never be put back into a box. All that remains is hope.
The images in my Childhood series are informed by my youthful thoughts and experiences, as well as by quiet observations of my children. I try to capture the private and introspective moments of childhood, the instances when children are enraptured by their own thoughts and actions, when they are transported from the immediate reality into their own worlds. This series is about the innocent wonder of youth and the timeless element of childhood.
Places Artist Statement
Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now, he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined, and the land grows poorer and uglier. Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya 1897
Places is a body of work that explores the juxtaposition of the natural and man made aspects of the landscape. The world is full of monumental, natural beauty and yet humanity continues to alter the landscape at an alarming rate. We put factories on pristine beaches, satellites in the middle of nowhere, power lines everywhere, and are continually building fences, factories, and highways. Places is a series that has grown out of my concern for the natural environment and my faith that nature will somehow prevail.