How Beautiful is Thy Dwelling: Digital Photography

Artist Statement

My photography explores the hidden beauty found in non-traditional environments. The photos are generally given without reference or context, allowing the viewer to create his/her own narrative.

Since I was a child I have had the habit of holding onto memories. I would try so hard to hold onto the good ones and relive them in my mind, only to have them fade too quickly. Conversely, I would try desperately to forget the hard memories only to have them become more and more vivid in my mind. It was like saying, “try to not see the elephant in the middle of the room,” but all you see is the elephant.

Some of these experiences involve sexual assault, broken relationships, regrets, insults, threats against myself, loss of loved ones, betrayal, natural disasters, and physical pain.
These memories of bad experiences haven’t let go. I dwell on them all the time.

I was talking with my husband a couple years ago, talking again about something that was still bothering me from years prior, he suggested I try putting these experiences into my work, to use this work as a way to finally realize these events and then put them away and move on.

Still life images seemed like the best way to carry out the idea. They would let me represent my experiences without having to recreate them literally.

I wanted to take these hard memories and create something beautiful from them: turn them from ugly to something that someone would want to spend time with, much like the earlier mentioned good memories that we try so desperately to hold onto. The ugly duckling becomes the beautiful swan.

Kate Allen

Kate Allen has lived in Japan, Okinawa, Korea, and throughout the western United States. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Photography at the University of Iowa. Her work has been shown in multiple exhibitions locally, in Lincoln, Nebraska, and in Pingyao, China at the International Photography Festival. Alongside her MFA in Photography and Secondary Emphasis in Graphic Design, she is also working toward a Graduate Certificate of Book Studies, Book Arts, and Technologies.