Michel Le Belhomme

List, 2013, C-Print, Diasec

Michael Koch

Every week we feature a series of one selected artist who was published in our printed magazine. This person is blogging during that time.

Allison Barnes

Allison Barnes – Autobiogeography

An impression put in the ground by an individual is a small event within a landscape; yet impression is the word we use to describe the effect a story has on us. In Autobiogeography, natural and man-made marks are telling of the evolving and interconnected makeup of both geography and personal experience. Place is itself temporally layered; a palimpsest of the multiple traces left by individuals, groups, and cultures.

These impressions are sometimes literally embedded within the landscape, or commemorate a natural event. Autobiography and geography converge and each image indicates a location of personal experience while offering an intertextual examination of the landscape. The marks, whether literal or transient, reveal the land as a repository of historical memory, of traces of a past and their complex connections to other places and peoples.

Autobiogeography infers from the land a sense of dynamic interaction that spans from pre-history into the present.

Allison Barnes – Profile


Allison Barnes is a Chicago based large format photographer. She received her B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts and her M.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her work has been the feature of numerous publications such as Aint-Bad Magazine, American Oxford, Der Greif, Lenscratch, One One Thousand, and Ticka Arts. Barnes has exhibited in solo* and group shows throughout the United States and internationally, including Autobiogeography*, Geography Lessons*, Neither For Me Honey Nor the Honey Bee*, and Personal Portraits, curated by the National Portrait Gallery. She was chosen as one of 30 Under 30 Women Photographers 2012 by Photo Boite and received honorable mention in Flash Forward Emerging Photographers 2013 by the Magenta Foundation. Barnes’ work is included in Catherine Edelman’s, The Chicago Project, as well as the Detroit Center For Contemporary Photography. She is a contributing photographer to The Cultural Landscape Foundation and co-curator of Tathata (2013) and Field Notes (2014).

Allison Barnes – Guest-Posts

Page 4 from The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald

Page 4 from The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald

Photographic Memory

February 11th, 2014Author: Allison Barnes

A couple of years ago, Daylight put out a compilation of essays, each one dedicated to a specific photograph that was never taken. Sixty-two essays submitted by sixty-two photographers, each one reminiscing on a single moment that got away, an impalpable light that was too exceptional to be captured in one frame. Of all the essays, only one has left an impression on me. Not to say that the others were not fascinating or interesting, as each scenario conveyed was always vivid, well written, and occasionally touching. But the one written by Kelli Connell has left its impression, just like a photograph, only hers are words; illusions described as liminal and fleeting seconds, those that only a photographer would remember; instants that have remained flickering in the ether.

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Joachim Koester: »Message From Andrée«

February 10th, 2014Author: Allison Barnes

»Memory has a spottiness,« wrote John Updike, »as if the film was sprinkled with developer instead of immersed in it.« There are moments when we close our eyes and a picture comes to us in pieces, bits of darkness hovering within the light as we wait for the whole image to illuminate. The act of remembering is similar to the act of photographing – it is the ability to capture a scene, to have an occasion leave its stain. Our mind waits for the light to happen, and so does the photographer.

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The Moon and Precious Metals

February 9th, 2014Author: Allison Barnes

I tend to be drawn to photographs of the outdoors. I relate to the landscape on a personal level because of my formative years in a rural town, and as a photographer I adore the works of Barbara Bosworth, Michael Lundgren, Laura McPhee, and Cheryl St. Onge, whom each have a sensitivity to place and often reveal how place has shaped them or their imagery. But when I came upon Brett Schenning’s Inheritance, my senses went on-end because the work is so intimate, literally so close to the eluvium that I felt my hands digging into the sandy soil of the southeast United States.

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David Welch: »The New Farmers« as New Radicals

February 9th, 2014Author: Allison Barnes

Every one of us has a distinct interpretation of home. Often though, it is the dwelling in which we feel the most comfortable, it is a second skin that soaks up memories, nutrients, and grows with time, made stronger or weaker, and protects us from the elements. A space makes up these dwellings, but a space in which stories are built, where plants are fed and reciprocate, becomes place, and a place is our home, it is near to us.

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Matt Wilson

February 8th, 2014Author: Allison Barnes

The fascination of memory occurs in specific places. It becomes grounded to a home, a landscape, a pickup truck, a motel; and while it is always hovering in the ether one can quickly emerge in the form of a kindred spirit. Like a star appearing at dusk or your vision as you step out into the sun from a dark room, it is something that is always there and can be issued from concealment. Matt Wilson’s photographs depict these moments as his past is always informing the present. His notions of space and place, landscape, identity, personal history, and memory all translate as different kinds of pleasures and freedoms.

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Odette England’s »Thrice Upon A Time«, Empathy, and Worrying

February 7th, 2014Author: Allison Barnes

I first came upon Odette England’s series, Thrice Upon a Time at the Museum of Contemporary Photography as part of the exhibition, Of Walking. I was immediately drawn to her images, which were large and lacerated, depicting the landscape of her family farm. Each photograph, printed full frame, was scratched or punctured, while some were so damaged that the image was entirely indistinguishable. Others were stitched back together, creating the appearance of a wounded field, or perhaps a root reaching towards the surface.

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The Rings of Saturn

February 5th, 2014Author: Allison Barnes

Over the next week I will be posting a selection of images by several artists whose work often deals with place and personal history. Though, I often find it difficult to write about those topics without contemplating W.G. Sebald and his wonderful hybrid of a book, which meditates upon travel, (auto)biography, myth and memoir, among other things. A historical expose, The Rings of Saturn is a record of a journey on foot through coastal East Anglia, England. The narrator, whom simultaneously is and is not Sebald, reveals biographical features through his movements in space.

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