Absence of Being by Susan Burnstine

Issue 23

A plane disappears into the clouds. We can’t see it, hear it or touch it, but we know it’s there. Our senses can give us no tangible evidence it continues to exist. But still, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s there. We suspend limitations of our senses, and believe.

When a person dies, do they simply cease to exist because they no longer have a physical presence? Or do they remain with us through the remnants of the lives they lived? When a building is razed, is it truly obliterated, or does its imprint remain in the collective unconscious?

This ongoing series explores how the past remains with us, if only in shadows. These images capture fleeting memories, spotted from the corner of an eye that vanish the moment we turn to really look. And yet they remain, for the imprint remains with us. We are living in the present, but the past reminds us that it is part of us, too, as is the future, and we of them.

With this body of work as with my former series, I captured these visions entirely in-camera using a collection of hand-made film cameras and lenses that are frequently unpredictable and technically challenging. The cameras are primarily made out of plastic, vintage camera parts and random household objects and the single element lenses are molded out of plastic and rubber. Learning to overcome their extensive limitations has required me to rely on instinct and intuition – the same tools that are key when trusting in the unseen.

Susan Burnstine is a Los Angeles, CA based artist.
To view more of Susan's work, please visit her website.

  The Last Goodbye, 2010 

The Last Goodbye, 2010 

  Fading Echoes, 2010 

Fading Echoes, 2010 

  As Above So Below, 2010 

As Above So Below, 2010 

  Until The Sky Fades Away, 2010 

Until The Sky Fades Away, 2010 

  Traverse, 2010 

Traverse, 2010 

  Eclipse, 2010 

Eclipse, 2010 

  Last Harvest, 2010 

Last Harvest, 2010 

  Impasse, 2010 

Impasse, 2010 

  Across The Line, 2010 

Across The Line, 2010 

  Through The Cracks, 2010 

Through The Cracks, 2010 

  In The Beginning Of The End, 2010 

In The Beginning Of The End, 2010