Kristine explores masculine archetypes, the American landscape, and cultural tendencies toward mythologizing the past.
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Episode 12: I had the good fortune to get a referral to Kristine Potter and her incredible work through her TBW BOOKS “label Mate” Peter Funch.
I had seen Kristine’s book Manifest from afar and was curious about the title, but had missed the book’s issuance by several years. Taking Peter’s advice, I contacted Kristine who was gracious enough to accept my invitation to a conversation in May, 2020. I was told that the conversation could take place, but that at any point, we may have a musical accompaniment from her husband and his steel pedal guitar, which sadly we missed. Kristine and her husband live in Nashville, Tennessee which I once opined to her is south, but not too south
Our conversation was lively and animated as we discussed Kristine’s beautiful and deep bodies of work. We spoke on The Gray Line and its complications of reading masculinity and desire through to her most recent work Dark Waters for which she has won the Grand Prix Images Vevey Award. Dark Waters is complex tale where folklore, geography (bodies of water) and tragedy converge. It is about the fragile state of lore as it regards gender and the cyclical consummation of violence to women as heard through murder ballads crafted from real world trauma.
All is not as dark as it might seem as we were also able to discuss Manifest and also her work in Nashville Nights. We found ourselves considering how place often affects our work and what it means to have mentors in photography and how to apply oneself. Kristine was incredibly generous with her insight and laughter. She was able to humor me about how I see the term “toxic masculinity” and I applaud her for that. It was a moment of “hmmn” and she has my grateful thanks for not stepping onto the landmine which I had going about planting for our conversation.
There are many reasons that she is called the Iron Chef of Photography. That is a bit of joke, but it kinda of sticks now that I think about her and our conversation, which was rare in the sense that we spoke on very heavy matters from being a woman shooting in the American West to the aforementioned murder ballads of Dark Waters. She has my sincere gratitude and for those of you reading and in Europe, keep an eye out for her exhibition in Vevey in September.