Polaroid; Crisis of Experience by J. K. Lavin

This body of work originates from a series of Polaroid SX70 self-portraits made during a daily practice from 1979 to late 1987. Crisis of Experience is the result of an eight-year project exploring themes of self-reflection and female identity using the mechanics of seriality.

Crisis of Experience is the result of an eight-year project exploring themes of self-reflection and female identity using the mechanics of seriality. This body of work originates from a series of Polaroid SX70 self-portraits made during a daily practice from 1979 to late 1987.

The daily ritual became a way to stay grounded while much of my life was unraveling, and it also allowed for a profound examination of self. 

By arbitrarily selecting the exposure and focus, spontaneously deciding the time and location of the photo I purposefully incorporated elements of randomness and chance into my creative practice.  Additional self-imposed guidelines prescribed that the camera was always handheld and only one image a day could be created, regardless of the outcome unless the film totally failed. 

The Polaroids have now become personal artifacts providing me with evidence of those years. For this series, original images have been edited, scanned and printed as archival pigment prints constructing a new set of achronological narratives. In an era of digital capture, the project also considers the materiality and legacy of the Polaroid medium that can never be replicated.  

About J. K. Lavin

J. K. Lavin is an American artist living in Venice, California. Her decision to move there was based on the flip of a coin at the airport as she was returning home after visiting friends there.  Lavin is an artist whose photographic practice considers memory, self-portraiture and the measurement of time.  Duration, as well as experimentation with randomness and chance, is an important dimension of her work. 

Lavin received a Master’s Degree of Art in Photography from California State University at Fullerton, CA. She also studied photography at The Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York and the Center of the Eye in Aspen, Colorado. 

J. K. Lavin was selected as a Critical Mass Finalist in 2020 and also as a Fresh finalist by Klompching Gallery in 2019.  She has had numerous solo exhibitions including The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. Her work has been exhibited across the US and in France. Lavin’s photographs have been published in various print and on-line magazines, and are held in public collections. [Official Website]

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