Featured Artist: Linda Sandow, The Joy Factor

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SoHo Photo Gallery, SoHo, NY

“Energies from Within” Artist Statement
People react uniquely to different kinds and intensities of change. But those introspections result in changed energies which are emanated to everyone and everything around us. The extent and levels of those energies and interactions change and determine our trajectory; our vision and path to our future.

This series “Energies from Within” explores the energies between us and those surrounding us as we resolve our search and move forward. And that new energy propagates to all around us. We should not let our fear of moving forward in a different light prevent us from following our deepest instinct to a new space and a richer life. We can allow our energy and creativity to help us find what we seek.

There always seems to be a million reasons why we can’t or shouldn’t do something that is perceived as risky, but so little justification on why we should embark on our dreams. Why is it so easy to come up with that many excuses not to even try? Once upon a time photography was not a career I could pursue as a real job and forget finding commercial success! That was never going to happen because the art world is too competitive! I’m not skilled enough! I’m not abstract enough! I’m too crazy or too lazy! But, when shit went down, I didn’t care about failure anymore, or what would or could never happen for me. I woke up and decided fear of failure was not more important than not attempting to do something I LOVE and with the help, support, and love of many people around me, I embarked on a creative life.

LIB’s latest featured artist, Linda Sandow, Fine Arts Photographer sat down with me to share the journey of her exhibition Energies From Within which was showcased at the SoHoPhotoGallery on White Street through September. The gallery is a cozy little art space which was founded in 1971 by New York Times photographers who created the space to exclusively highlight fine art photography. It has since grown over the decades into a supportive group who diligently work to celebrate artists from all walks of life, offer workshops and encourage people to enter their competitions or become a member to help give back to the community.

Energies From Within was such a fascinating, stunning show full of mystery and curiosities. Linda and I met when she announced her show on a Facebook group of which we are both members. I wasn’t able to attend the opening reception (sadly!), but checked out her works through her website and wondered how she captured these shapes, textures, and images. What kind of camera and/or filters did she use? Were there editing techniques applied?

Linda enthusiastically greeted me when I arrived and we set up to chat in the area her work is displayed. It enabled me to become engrossed in the images while we discussed the inspiration behind the project and talked about creative consciousness. It only took us a matter of minutes to sit down and start what was a very inspirational and informative conversation.

I always encourage artists to begin the interview by asking them to share what’s important to them as an artist, to confront the hardships and achievements in their creative careers, and what would they like people to know about themselves and/or art in general? Linda’s emphasis revolves around nonrealistic artistry and firmly believes this type of work should not be ignored. Her passion strikes me as one that supports and challenges others to think differently – not so literally, but symbolically, especially when it comes to creation.

“A lot of people think photography is about photojournalism, documentary, and realism, but there’s a whole other genre of work out there that presents more conceptual representations. In my case it’s more existential; I’m more interested in work that portrays journeys through life. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a few myself.
So this exhibition is about the way we portray ourselves to people in different situations, present ourselves differently, and that produces a certain energy and that energy changes the trajectory of our lives and the lives of everybody we meet. I did that using a very fuzzy visualization.”

Linda was able to achieve that fuzzy visualization, a term she created to refer to this particular imagery to which she gravitates, by using a digital infrared camera at a slow shutter speed and some texture. She pointed out the two photos which were the first of this series and ultimately inspired her to continue using this technique to tell her stories, “I really like that message. It’s like you’re kind of alone, but you’re not alone. You’re kind of going someplace, but you’re kind of stuck. It’s kind of a mystery as to what’s going on, but it’s not… maybe… or maybe it is? People think when they look at these and my work in general and come up with these amazing stories of what they see. It’s like my own personal Rorschach test. I kind of like that about it, that the viewer brings something to the moment, the viewing, too.”

A specific photo with two people caught my eye – there was an element of engagement I personally didn’t catch in the other shots, something playful and curious about this particular couple that didn’t seem present in other subjects (Energies From Within #15, 20 x 20”). All of Linda’s photos left an impression on me and inspired me to start thinking about photography abstractly.

Energies From Within was a five day shoot at three different venues over the course of a couple of weeks. Linda visited the Guggenheim, MoMA, and Whitney museums where she started observing people who were lost in their thoughts, present in these places without necessarily aware of what was happening around them, and she sought to capture the intersections of such dichotomies.

We had a chance to discuss logistics from the show, how Linda does all her own printing and framing, but has the mats done. She designed how her exhibit was laid out, she wanted spectators to know the series come in threes, and that her commercial success comes with being part of an art collective where she volunteers her time and connects with visitors passing through.

As we wound down, we discussed how the creative life is quite transcendental, especially coming from other careers in our lives. My journey starts with lots of office jobs including library science and publishing, but for Linda her previous careers were that of a professional musician and then a software developer and now a fine art photographer. “Those lifestyles are very different”, she states. “As a result of that, I am very aware of the different changes I’ve had to make.”

She told me she remembers when she first embarked on her fine art non-realistic photography back in early 2014, “There are some stimulating and fulfilling parts of what I did in my corporate life, but in the end it’s not as creative. I remember saying to somebody I can feel joy from my musical and fine art endeavors . But I can only feel satisfaction from developing a really good presentation or paper or piece of research or software package. I fealt joy in evolving each of these photographic pieces at a very different level from any other work I have done. And I can feel joy in my musical experiences – I did feel joy in that! Being creative is a wonderful thing to have experienced, for everybody; everybody has the capability of being creative, but for some people it’s easier to let it come out. To let creativity flow is a wonderful and blessed thing to have in one’s existence. ”

If you have a chance to follow Linda on social media and catch a future show, I strongly encourage we keep an eye out for all that is to come. Linda’s demeanor is genuinely sweet, open, creative, and sharp. The world of art could always use a strong, optimistic female figure such as her to guide new artists and be an inspiration to us all; I imagine her imagery and creative style draws in a curious type interested in being fully engaged and on their artistic journeys.

“I just start shooting what catches my eye. Of course at this point I am looking for a range of things that I keep coming back to. Even though I’m looking for people on paths or people in their own space, unaware of what is around them – I’m looking at everything. First of all it’s good to get your process going and get your mind working in that mode, because in the end it needs to be instinctual and have a rhythm. . Then I hone in on where’s the message? Where’s that thread that’s going to bring me to the collection I’m trying to build?”
Thank you so much, Linda for sitting down with me and chatting about your exhibit and creative journey! Please keep us up to date with any/all future shows, projects, events, and anything you’re working on or feel like sharing – we look forward to seeing and supporting so much more! If you would like to see Linda’s series Energies From Within or other recent work she has done you can view it on her website www.lindasandow.com.

linda@lindasandow.com
https://www.lindasandow.com/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/lindasandow99/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/linda.sandow.5

www.sohophoto.com
IG: https://www.instagram.com/sohophotogallery/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/SohoPhotoNYC

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About Author

Kelly M. Coffey

Kelly's life trek started out in New York City. With a handful of luck, she's been mini globe-trotting, explored new landscapes, met extraordinary people, and has joyously lived in scenic spots like Puerto Rico and Salt Lake City. Her time is spent learning as much as possible about craft beer production, all things food, wine, coffee & tea, writing about personal experiences in fitness, music & travel, photographing some of NYC's infinite street art and interesting spaces, and celebrating life daily. To reach Kelly directly, drop her a line at vedhead@gmail.com!

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