INSPIRATION: JENNIFER ERVIN

We asked Spring artist Jen Ervin about what inspires her as an artist. Here is what we learned about her passion for photography and the stories she aims to share through her lens.

FAMILY AND THE SOUTHERN LANDSCAPE are the main subjects of Ervin’s Polaroids.

Baby Alligator, Front Yard of Ark Lodge, Gresham, SC, Memorial Day, 2012 and Road to Lodge, Dusk, 2014 by Jen Ervin

“As a photographer, my intentions behind the lens are to create simple yet complex compositions. I’m interested in making images that blur the lines of reality and fiction. I carefully and intuitively compose each Polaroid making sure to leave a puzzling amount of detail to require a closer investigation from the viewer.

Most of my Polaroid work is made at our family’s historic cabin, Ark Lodge, which was built in the 1940’s. The lodge’s walls are paneled with cypress and lined with shelves that display an eclectic collection of found & gifted treasures over the years. In “Baby Alligator”, my daughter is holding one the most prized treasures of the lodge’s collection. She chose to carry it with us as we explored the area together for one last adventure before ending our weekend. At the place of capture, golden light was pouring through the cypress swamp, reflecting on its dark waters. It was a place where we had seen many baby alligators. It seemed natural to weave a story here, one that wove the past with the present with a poetic thread of the mysterious South”. - Jen Ervin

PHOTOGRAPHERS such as Thekla Ehling, Emmet Gowin, and Sally Mann have greatly influenced her work.

Thekla Ehling open book by Jennifer Ervin and Nancy Wells, Danville, Virginia, 1969, by Emmet Gowin

HER HERO is American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist Patti Smith.

Patti Smith by Judy Linn

QUOTES ignite her passion to create thoughtful work.

“I need to say to you. There are things in your life that only you will see, stories that only you will hear. If you don’t tell them or write them down, if you don’t make the picture, these things will not be seen, these things will not be heard.” - Emmet Gowin

“Without being able to explain, I know it absolutely, that it [capturing something transcendent] happens sometimes, and I know by the way I feel in the action that it goes like magic — this is it. It’s as though there’s a wonderful secret in a certain place and I can capture it. Only I can do it at this moment, only this moment and only me… That’s a hell of a thing to believe, but I believe it or I couldn’t act.” - Walker Evans

MUSIC is a constant companion. Groups such as the Rolling Stones, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Vetiver, as well as musicians from the blues and proto-punk genres have provided a soundtrack for her life.

Neal Casal is one of Ervin’s favorite musicians. He plays guitar with Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals. She took this photo at Redux Contemporary Art Center when Casal was in town with Chris Robinson Brotherhood in 2012.

Jen Ervin is one of the Spring Season artists.

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