past exhibition

Brigitte Carnochan


Floating World

July 2 - August 2, 2010


1 A Bird Comes 2 Butterflies Tell Me 3 Pillow of Sickness 4 Floating World 5 Late at Night 6 Flower of Forgetfullness 7 Half Hidden 8 Golden Bee 9 Spring Night 10 Cherry Blossoms 11 How to Forget Him 12 Bewildering Dream 13 Dark of the Moon 14 Summer Moon 15 Whenever the Wind Blows 16 Songs of Love 17 Rouged Lips 18 Sorrow 19 Your Way 20 Send a Message


View Additional Images from the Floating World Series

Born in Germany, Brigitte Carnochan came to the United States as a child, where she fell in love with ballet and the idea of being a dancer. Instead of making a career of dance, however, she became a high school and later university teacher of English with a love of gardening. When her early interest in photography at last culminated in a decision to make photography her career, her interest in dance and gardens influenced her primary subject matters: the formal beauty of bodies, flowers and fruit.

Her latest series, Floating World, began while rummaging through a used book store in Princeton, New Jersey, where she discovered a volume of haiku and tanka translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ikuko Atsumi in 1977. The poems were by Japanese women from the 7th through the 20th centuries and represent all the major styles during this extended period-from the Classical to Contemporary schools.

"I was immediately drawn to the poems, and as I read them-so allusive and rich in imagery-I knew that I wanted to make their photographic equivalents. The Floating World refers to the conception of a world as evanescent, impermanent, of fleeting beauty and divorced from the responsibilities of the mundane, everyday world. For the poets in this volume, that world centered on love-longing for love and the beloved, mourning lost love, pondering its mystery. The beauty of the natural world-its flowers, landscape, the moon, and the changing seasons-serves as the primary metaphor."

What she didn't know then was that she would also want to create her own versions of the poems that could accompany the images. With the help of translators Hitomi Nakamura and Frederick Kotas, who found the originals and gave her literal translations, Brigitte composed her own English versions of the poems. The calligraphy on each image, representing the name of the poet, is by Richard Man.

Brigitte was educated at San Jose State University in San Jose, California (B.A., English), at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California (M.A., Education), and at the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D., English). Her work has received numerous awards and has been shown in exhibitions throughout the country as well as in several recent publications and books. She currently teaches photographic workshops at Stanford University and is a Member of the Advisory Council of the Center for Photography in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Images are archival color pigment on kozo paper and are available in either 8.75 x 8.75, matted to 16 x 20 or 15 x 15, matted to 24 x 24.


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Images © Brigitte Carnochan