The Artists...

Katie Kalkstein received her degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. She is a fine art photographer who uses traditional and alternative photographic processes, but is known mainly for her mixed media photographic work. Her work has been exhibited in national and regional galleries, and is in many private collections. She has also been published several times in Diffusion magazine and was a Critical Mass Top 200 artist in 2014. She was a recent recipient of a Colorado Creative Industries grant and teaches at Art Students League in Denver, CO.

My work is an attempt to understand our ever-changing relationship to the environment through various connections and personal metaphors. In this series, I chose the process of sewing on photographs I have taken because it simultaneously destroys and recreates the image, which mirrors the way we are currently reshaping the natural world around us. When I create photographs of the environment, there is a conflicting sense of loss and connectedness. Is our place in it one of revitalization, ambivalence, or destruction? How do we influence the cycles in nature as they also impact us? I believe there are universal stories and conversations across time, space, and perception that connect us all - although sometimes tenuously. Through the process of destroying and creating the final image and layering perceptions of place over time, it becomes a meditation on and metaphor for these thoughts.


Emma Powell - As mother (Kirsten) and daughter (Emma) we have been working on informal art projects for many years. In 2013 we decided to create a truly collaborative photographic series. This project was realized after two trips to Iceland together.

Emma Powell is an assistant professor of art at Colorado College. Powell graduated from the College of Wooster, and received her MFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work has been shown in a variety of one-person and group exhibitions throughout the country, including her solo exhibition A Life Reviewed: George Eastman through the Viewfinder at the George Eastman House in 2010.

Kirsten Hoving is a Charles A. Dana Professory of Art History at Middlebury College. Twelve years ago, she took her first photography workshop to help her be a better scholar and teacher of photographic history and she was hooked. In between writing books and articles and teaching courses about modern art and the history of photography at Middlebury College, she makes photographs.

Svala’s Saga is a collaborative photographic fairy tale that addresses the issue of species extinction. Our character, Svala, is confronted with a sudden loss of the worlds birds. As the Earth heats and cools, she journeys through the wilderness searching for the last remaining eggs. By drawing on the archetypal motif of the quest, we hope to suggest that a lone individual can make a difference through perseverance and determination. These images are printed using the platinum/palladium process over digital color.

On a cold, gray day, Svala no longer heard the birds. They all had disappeared. She searched throughout the land, but only broken shells and empty nests remained. As winters and summers passed, Svala consulted oracles and interpreted dreams. The message was always the same: it was her destiny to rescue the birds. She bid farewell to home and hearth, then set out across the world on her quest. 


Karen Divine - The world is seen in layers, stacking colors and ideas, shapes and patterns onto each other as if one were walking through their day with blurred vision, not taking in specifics but piecing together various parts and overlapping them.  What develops is another realm of existence experienced only through tonality, form, textures and movement. It’s photography that represents a personal experience of the world, stories of multiple and personal dimensions, reflecting an emotional life with all its inner turmoil, passions and a desire for freedom and playfulness.

The Awakened Eye, Miriam Louisa Simons:
“It’s rare to come upon an extraordinarily creative artist who also has a wise and poetic way with words. And to find that this artist has brought together her two skills within the covers of a book that is not only a visual delight but also an inspiration for the contemplative creative, is such a joy. Her name is Karen Divine, and she hails from that hotbed of creativity, Boulder, Colorado.”


Karen Kirkpatrick makes her images into her own creations through digital manipulation allowing her to have control over expressing mood and emotion. Among her main photographic interests is nature and the way in which humans fit into and alter the natural world. Often using the landscape, she builds images that hold a story, a feeling or a suggestion of human connection to parts of nature that we might take for granted. She infuses her work with the unseen – sometimes touching on the psychological or emotional and sometimes the ethereal. There is a human presence in each of the images, which is often implied rather than obvious.

There are many moments in life that remain in our memory long after they are lost from sight. Sometimes these moments stay with us even when we wish to forget. These moments could be a place of comfort and nostalgia or a place of sadness. There can be a beauty in remembrance, even in the places of loss. The scenes remembered might fade slightly or shift to a more gentle memory over time.

In quiet times such as waking or meditating, we are briefly in that space between the real and imagined when memories touch our soul and allow our minds to bend reality. My constructed images are moments such as these, reduced to feelings at the point where the seen and unseen meet. The images are meant to spark a thought from the past or desires for the future, or to bring you to that place between.

“My goal is to bring a story to life, to give a viewer reason to pause long enough to be touched by a thought, a memory or an emotion.”


Arista Slater was born and raised in Grand Rapids Michigan. in 2011 she received a BFA in photography at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C. After completing her BFA, Arista moved to attend the College of Art and Design at Lesley University in Boston where she completed her MFA in Fine Art Photography in 2013. While in grad school she focused on the historic photographic processes, gum bichromate, and large scale image transfers. She continues to shoot film and works in alternative approaches to photography while working as the gallery manager at Open Shutter Gallery in Durango Colorado. Arista lives and works in South West Colorado with her husband.

The minutiae of everyday life hits in the gut when I'm wishing away minutes until the next ones. And I look over and there's a potbellied shirtless man basking in the sun for minutes that I wished never existed. Not trying to unwish someone's existence, so pause and look into the beauty next to me from passing light over the face of a man I know. Walking on air with him till the next seat not taken. All the time too conscious of the delicate circumstances in which we land as strangers in a strange land. Where attempting to coalesce takes many hands to a place that we call ours but not really “ours” (not yet or ever?). For a final leap of faith until impact. When a proper way to speak is not a concern (or sentence structure for that matter), and all your observations are correct in seeing genitalia in that rock.

A 19th-century photographic printing process based on the light sensitivity of dichromates, Gum Bichromate is a tricky but beautiful printing process. It is capable of rendering painterly images from photographic negatives. Gum printing is traditionally a multi-layered printing process, but satisfactory results may be obtained from a single pass. Any color can be used for gum printing, so natural-color photographs are also possible by using this technique in layers. Printing involves creating a working emulsion of three components: gum arabic, saturated dichromate (potassium or ammonium) and water color pigment, that is then mixed together is different ratios based on what color is about to be brushed onto the pretreated watercolor paper. The paper is then dried, and exposed to UV with a negative. once exposure is complete the latent image is developed in water for up to one hour. Repeat with different colors till desired results are achieved.


The Constructed Image

Open Shutter Gallery is proud to present, The Handmade Photograph, showcasing five unique voices in contemporary photography.

The works on exhibit are a small cross section of a growing trend in photography. That of an alternative perspective on image making and image taking by using historic photographic processes and contemporary technology.  Featuring works by Colorado photographers, Katie Kalkstein, Emma Powell, Karen Divine, Karen Kirkpatrick and local artist Arista Slater-Sandoval.

Historic photographic processes are a revival of historic techniques in photography dating back to the beginning of the medium. The methods used are chemistry based and often complicated, however the result is a unique creation that is often unreproducible even when several prints are made from a single negative. Alternative approaches come into play with historic processes but also with mixed media treatment of the print and contemporary technology. I-phone photography apps’ editing abilities are so advanced and flexible that entire image manipulation and collage is possible.

Katie Kalkstein, and Emma Powell both start with a digital archival pigment prints but then alter the surface by varnishing or adding another historic photographic process on the surfaces. Karen Divine and Karen Kirkpatrick both work in image editing software to create beautifully collaged images that are constructed from countless other images.  While Arista Slater-Sandoval works from film to digital, back to negatives and prints Gum bichromate in the darkroom.

Combining alternative approaches to photography with concept and content, the artists are able to create their own unique worlds. The selection of work from each artist pivots around a central theme or concept developed over time. With the artist's hand present in every step of creation, the stylized voice of the artist speaks to their points of concern or interest.  By using photography as a base to experiment from, along with contemporary methodologies the photographic images reflect a diverse voice in contemporary photography.

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