Moving beyond the convention of recording found moments in front of the camera, Zelda Zinn constructs, deconstructs and reconstructs both her subjects and the resulting photographs. Her process navigates the borders between photography and other arts, and operates at the edge where representation and abstraction meet.
Working with the material itself—the content of the image or the final print, she approaches pictures as visual puzzles whose goal is to conjure beyond the page. The material she starts with is unremarkable and plain; through Zinn’s process, it becomes convincing and engaging. Often, the less she uses, the more she is able to imply, making room for her viewer’s imaginations, drawing them in.
Zinn’s constructions, filtered through the camera’s eye and her own handiwork, are hybrids that have their origins in the real world, yet have moved into the fictive realm. In her work, the obvious reference points upon which most images are built are not the end points but rather the beginning of a process of simultaneous revelation and concealment. Using the language of photography, Zinn’s work takes us right up to the edge of losing those reference points.
Despite her attempts to work around the camera’s mainstream conventions, Zinn remains first and foremost a photographer. While her work strains against photography’s constructs and assumptions, she works toward amplifying its emotive and lyrical possibilities. Following in the tradition of Henry Peach Robinson, F. Holland Day, and Man Ray, Zinn plays the factual against the fictional. Operating from within the medium, Zinn’s work shifts the conversation toward the subjective and the painterly, expanding the dialogue of photography beyond itself and into new realms of possibility.