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Interview|Tarrah Krajnak 

We interviewed Tarrah Krajnak, the Grand Prize Winner of the 2021 Hariban Award, about the making of her work, her residency and her solo exhibition. 

Tarrah spent two weeks in Kyoto in June 2023, when travel restrictions for the new coronavirus pandemic were lifted, to work with the craftspeople in the Benrido atelier. The residency program was originally intended to produce collotype prints of eight of the winning images. However, thanks to the cooperation of Tarrah’s gallery — Thomas Zander Gallery, all 18 of the winning images were produced as collotypes.  

Please share with us about your first encounter with photography and art, and the events that led you to start your career as an artist.

Tarrah Krajnak (TK):   I did not grow up with art or books or music in my house. My first encounter with photography was through vernacular photography– family albums and home videos that my mother kept around the house. I was not really exposed to art or the idea that one could be an artist until my first darkroom course as a college student at Ohio Wesleyan. I moved to NYC at 19 years old. I lived with a lot of other college students in a big brownstone in Chelsea, and I worked several jobs including one at NBC/ Saturday Night Live as an assistant photographer. I really hated this work, but I loved art and the city. I went to graduate school shortly after that experience, and from there I understood that I really loved darkroom photography and I would pursue teaching.


Please share with us your way of seeing and approach which you find important in the presentation of your work.

TK:   My work is rooted in conceptual photography and performance, but I am interested in the re-materialization of the medium. You could see this in the materials and processes I use, and in the way I use my body and re-photography as strategy.


From the artist web site


You incorporate various analogue techniques in your creation process ― you load film into a large-format camera, shoot photos, and then develop the film and make prints in the darkroom. Nowadays, this is considered to be an “elaborate process”. Could you tell us why you work in analogue and what you really enjoy about it?

TK:   I have always felt a strong connection to the early occult history of the medium– spirit photography, alchemy, and magic. The darkroom is truly a spiritual place where I experience a bodily connection to the work I make. I also teach darkroom processes to students and it is a communal space as well where I can experience the process anew through my students. I appreciate the slowness of the medium and delay as part of the pleasure of the medium.


Residency in Benrido Atelier, June 2023


You won the Hariban Award in 2021 and came to Kyoto in June 2023 after the pandemic. How was your experience of participating in an artist residency and working with the craftspeople at the atelier?

TK:   The most amazing experience truly! I have participated in other prestigious residencies, but the Hariban was like no other. I was in Kyoto for a month and felt a deep sense of connection to the city, culture, and people.

Everyone at Benrido was so welcoming and invested in my experience. My partner came with me and we felt so grateful to be introduced to Japan in this extraordinary way. We loved the people at Benrido and the time they took to make sure we were experiencing the best of Kyoto. The food of Kyoto was a highlight of my experience as well. I really appreciated the dinners and special night out with the Benrido team. It helped me to feel part of the community. Most of all though, I appreciate the craft and the attention that went into printing my work. My prints were challenging and the amount of detail and attention to getting the tones just right was astounding.


Solo Exhibition at Laboratory of Art and Form, April 2024


In the end, it took over two and a half years for your winning work to be printed in collotype. How did you feel when you saw the prints at your solo exhibition in Kyoto? 

TK:   I really can’t describe the feeling of seeing these prints framed and installed after so many years! It was extremely gratifying and unlike any other show I have installed. I felt very grateful to the team of Benrido and the patience it took to get the prints to the point of exhibition. The finished prints represented not only my own work, but the labor of many who came together to produce a beautiful rendition of my work.. I really felt the community of care and love that went into the success of these prints when I saw then in the exhibition.


Tarrah Krajnak


Born in Lima, Peru in 1979 and based in Eugene, Oregon. Krajnak is an artist and educator working across photography, performance, and poetry. She is represented by Thomas Zander Galerie, Cologne/Paris. Award: the Jury Prize of the Louis Roederer Discovery Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles, The Lewis Baltz Research Fund Award (Le Bal, Paris). In 2020 she won the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for her first book El Jardín De Senderos Que Se Bifurcan (DAIS 2021) which was named to MoMA’s list of the top ten photo books of the year and shortlisted for Aperture’s First Book Award. Monograph: Master Rituals II: Weston’s Nudes (TBW 2022) , RePose (FW Books 2023). 

HARIBAN AWARD 2021の最優秀賞受賞者タラ・クライネックさんに、制作にまつわることやレジデンス、個展についてインタビューをおこないました。タラさんは、新型コロナウィルスの渡航制限が緩和された2023年6月に京都に2週間滞在し、職人とコラボレーションをしました。また、本来のレジデンスでは受賞作の8点をコロタイププリントとして仕上げますが、タラさんの所属するギャラリー Thomas Zander Galleryの協力の元、受賞作の全イメージ18点がコロタイプで仕上げられました。


わたしは、実家にアートや本や音楽があるという環境で育った訳ではありません。初めての写真との関わりといえば、母が家のあちこちに飾っていたありふれた家族写真やホームビデオです。ですので、オハイオ・ウェズリアン大学に進学して暗室の授業を受けるまでは、芸術やアーティストになるという考えに触れることはありませんでした。19歳の時にニューヨークに引っ越し、たくさんの他の学生と一緒にチェルシーの大きなブランストーンに暮らしながら、NBC/ Saturday Night Liveのアシスタントカメラマン等いろいろな仕事をしました。この仕事は本当に嫌いだったけれど、アートと街はとても好きでした。この経験をして間もなく大学院に進学し、暗室に関わる写真の仕事が本当に大好きなこと気付き、教鞭をとることを念頭に置くようになりました。





作品を作る過程でさまざまなアナログ技術を取り入れられていますね。大判カメラにフィルムを装填して撮影し、暗室で現像やプリントを作る…。今日では ”手の込んだプロセス” となりましたが、アナログで制作をする理由やその醍醐味を教えてください。


レジデンス 2023年6月



本当に素晴らしい体験でした!他にもこれまでに著名なレジデンスに参加したことはありますが、HARIBAN AWARDは他には無いものでした。京都に滞在した一ヶ月、街や文化、そして人々に強いつながりを感じました。



Laboratory of Art and Formでの個展 2024年4月






写真、パフォーマンス、詩の分野で活躍するアーティスト、教育者。1979年ペルーのリマに生まれ、現在はオレゴン州ユージーンを拠点に活動している。トーマス・ザンダー・ギャラリー(ケルン/パリ)に所属。レ・ランコントール・アルルにてルイ・ロデレール・ディスカバリー審査員賞、ルイス・バルツ研究基金賞(ル・バル、パリ)を受賞。2020年には、MoMAの年間写真集トップ10に選ばれ、ApertureのFirst Book Awardの最終選考に残った初の写真集『El Jardín De Senderos Que Se Bifurcan』(DAIS 2021)で、デューク大学ドキュメンタリー研究センターのドロシア・ラング=ポール・テイラー賞を受賞。その後、『Master Rituals II: Weston’s Nudes』(TBW 2022)と『RePose』(FW Books 2023)を出版。