Janelle Lynch: Another Way of Looking at Love
Finding subjects on her wooded property during all seasons, Janelle Lynch focuses closely on dense trees, plants, and flowers to encourage us to look closer and think more deeply about our natural surroundings.
This fall, the Hudson River Museum presents color photographs of Catskills foliage from Janelle Lynch’s series Another Way of Looking at Love. Finding subjects on her wooded property during all seasons, Lynch (American, born 1969) focuses closely on dense trees, plants, and flowers to encourage us to look more intently and think more deeply about our natural surroundings. The title of the series is a quote from contemporary British philosopher Alain de Botton, who believes that love is about making connections and about long-term, pro-active commitment. His ideas resonated with Lynch, who related them to her own work reimagining our relationship to nature, the planet, and each other.
The exhibition comprises fourteen large photographs and, from the Museum’s collection, an accordion portfolio of five small-format prints from the same series. Speaking about her project, begun in 2015, Lynch says, “I was interested in the challenge of seeing anew in a place with which I was intimately familiar.” She uses a large format camera and 8×10-inch film, offering her exquisite detail and control over depth of field. With these tools, she creates the illusion of arrangements between natural objects, which, to the naked eye, would not be immediately apparent. A swirl of stem may form a closure with a branch or leaf that is, in fact, many yards away.Read more
This series is the first time Lynch has fully embraced the lush and intense hues of nature. While she has used color film in the past, she often sought out the subtle tones of cloudy days. Then, in 2015, she took intensive classes in drawing and painting for the first time. She notes that drawing taught her discipline and mindfulness to see more deeply and painting brought her a new appreciation for the power of color. The resulting photographs reward time spent in their presence, to look long and look again. The Museum’s curator, Laura Vookles, says, “I marvel at the way Janelle’s narrowed focus and low viewpoint immerse us in the scene. We aren’t looking out over nature—we are in it. And with today’s ongoing deforestation and climate change, that seems a vital reminder.”
Lynch’s Another Way of Looking at Love is on the shortlist of international nominees for the prestigious Prix Pictet 2019, which recognizes photographic excellence in expressing themes related to environmental sustainability. In November, photographs by the twelve finalists will be exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in conjunction with the announcement of the prize winner.
In the two decades since Lynch earned an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1999, she has perfected the art of large-format photography, and Kodak has awarded her three grants for working with 8×10-inch film. Lynch has frequently undertaken long-term projects, such as her River series (2000–6), which is represented in the Museum’s collection. Radius Books, which published an accordion book on this series, also published monographs on her work in Mexico and Spain. She teaches at the International Center of Photography in New York; and, her works can also be found in collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of the City of New York; the George Eastman Museum, Rochester; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; and Fundació Vila Casas, Barcelona.