JANUARY 2008 FEATURED ARTIST || Elaine Sakiris

Growing up in Ottawa, Canada with an architect father, Elaine Sakiris made a shift to photography from a business background and graduated from the New England School of Photography in 2005. Showing in various group exhibitions and publications across the US, Sakiris was recently selected for inclusion in juried exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA and New Space Center for Photography in Portland, OR. In addition, she has received honorable mentions from the International Photography Awards for the past three years.

Featured online are selections from Sakiris's series “Her House,” a study of a relative's space cared for meticulously by her surviving husband, kept exactly as it was before her passing over thirteen years ago. Also featured is a new series considering the liminal spaces and experiences we all have in airports and airplanes. A quiet meditative sentiment pervades all of her work. Focusing on highly ordered and controlled spaces, the objects and environments Sakiris selects convey a state of mind and simultaneously reference ideas of the “inbetween” as well as stasis.

  - Leslie K. Brown, PRC Curator

Click here for Sakiris's website


“Her House”

This project explores the house of my mother-in-law who passed away over thirteen years ago, several years before I met my husband. I have spent many holidays and family visits in her house, where my father-in-law continues to live.

These are portraits of her spaces, her sense of décor, her statement. I set out photographing these silent and eerie rooms hoping to find the remnants or an extension of the energetic, social personality I was told of. The resulting photographs, however, did not speak to her personality; instead, they revealed a highly controlled, meticulous statement of identity. Through décor she presented her visual sense of prosperity, her way of appreciating culture and her definition of a beautiful, inviting home.

Contradictions have found their way into these spaces: kitschy dolls and decorations in formal rooms, porcelain “natural” objects that would not spoil or need replacing, rooms designed to receive guest that are rarely if ever occupied. The rooms have an immaculate, undisturbed appearance; they say “look from a distance” and “do not disturb” as if they are from theatrical stage set or an exhibit in a museum. Some may find these rooms beautiful, others, perhaps cold and oppressive; the one constant, however, is the lingering sense of tragedy for a home that has ceased to breathe and flourish.

“A Passenger in Flight”

This ongoing project explores the passenger's experience of commercial flight. These images are observations from moving through the controlled system of moving people from one location to the next, where security and cost management are the highest priorities. They are scenes from a passenger's progress through the system and places where the eyes settle during the moments of waiting.

In a time where security and operating cost-based competition are driving the direction of commercial air travel, flying almost necessitates finding a way to let the mind escape. These images look at various forms of distraction—television, cell phones, computers, food, newspapers, sleep—and their pervasiveness. The close quarters, dense seating areas and sterile environment highlight the drive to keep costs at a minimum, manage the movement of masses, and maintain a clean, secured, functional environment.

The glamour of air travel, particularly when flying economy, has been replaced by security concerns and the struggle to manage capacity with a record high volume of planes in the air. By photographing this experience, I hope to give viewers the distance to look at the habits we adopt to get by and the environments that prompt these coping behaviors. For a climate that pushes a person to escape should be closely examined.

- Elaine Sakiris, 2007

Click on each image for larger version and caption.

"Her House"

"A Passenger in Flight"


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