“…bouncing off of what I find in the world, a form of visual poetry that tries to make sense and beauty of what I see out there.”
Lisa Kereszi (born 1973 outside of Philadelphia) is a contemporary photographer currently based in New Haven, CT (USA).
She studied photography at “Bard College” and the Yale School of Art.
“There is nothing as depressing as trying to have fun.”
“The work represented here explores the world of recreation and escapism. Over a period of ten years, I made trips to amusement parks, movie theatres, dive bars, motels, nightclubs, haunted houses, strip clubs and arcades to look at them in a critical way. I was interested in these buildings that house all of these desires and fantasies, and how the fantasy really comes to fail when they are looked closely at in the light of day.
These temporary structures that are built to contain and encourage a certain activity are often, themselves, thinly veiled and badly painted vehicles to suggest a world, and let the mind (and better lighting) take on the rest of the job. Someone outside of the photography world made a comment, upon seeing the work: “There is nothing as depressing as trying to have fun.”
I always liked that one way of looking at it, and felt like that made a lot of sense to me.
Interview with Lisa Kereszi
Lisa, why did you become a photographer? And what does photography mean to you?
Probably because an English professor in college told me I didn’t have the love of language necessary to become a poet. He discouraged me so much, that I holed up in the photography department. Also, I can’t draw.
A photographer has many “tools” at hand to bring across his message: lenses, lighting, framing, color treatment etc. Can you elaborate a little bit on the techniques you used for this particular project in order to link form and content?
It’s not really a conscious thing, because form and content are inextricably linked. I just have a set of tools I usually use, that have become second nature to me, that I came to use almost exclusively over time – the Mamiya 7ii 6×7 camera and the normal and wide lenses, and the Wista 4×5 field camera with a 150 or a 135mm on it. I am moving the former setup to digital now, but not the 4×5.
In other words: How would you describe your photographic language and creative process?
Reactive, bouncing off of what I find in the world, a form of visual poetry that tries to make sense and beauty of what I see out there, what I choose to point out, collect and bring home.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
Probably Walker Evans. We share a common ancestor who came to America from England in the 17th century, so we’re cousins, not just photographically, but also genetically! His plain way of making pictures was ahead of his time. He was a cultural critic. I also love Brassai, Atget, Frank and Arbus and Eggleston. They all took common and uncommon things and transformed them into something meaningful, poetic and surreal.