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LIGHT + METAL: Meghann Riepenhoff on making work 'For Anna'

photo-eye Gallery LIGHT + METAL:
Meghann Riepenhoff on making work For Anna
photo-eye Gallery is very proud to have four works by Meghann Riepenhoff from her series For Anna, Vol. II in LIGHT + METAL – Courtesy of EUQINOM Gallery.

Meghann Riepenhoff, For Anna, Vol. II. Plate 31, 2017,
 Dynamic Cyanotype, algae and shoreline debris, 12x9" Image, Unique, $3500
Courtesy of EUQINOM Gallery
photo-eye Gallery is very proud to have four works by 2018-2019 Guggenheim Fellow Meghann Riepenhoff in LIGHT + METAL. Riepenhoff's For Anna, Vol. II is an homage to prominent 19th-century cyanotypist Anna Atkins and a response to her influential book Photographs of British Algae – widely considered to be the first published using photographic illustration.

While viewing an original copy of the publication, Riepenhoff became fascinated with a progression of impressions a previous reader left across the pages. Here, Riepenhoff witnessed a lasting interaction with Atkins' work left for consideration by future readers and responded herself by creating a series of dynamic cyanotypes printed on location, exposed by the sun and developed in the ocean.

Unlike Atkins' traditional photograms, which were produced with dried, manicured specimens, Riepenhoff's images are made with wet seaweed on location, creating an impression of both the object and its environment. Although the prints are unique and sold separately, their naming convention indicates a single volume, a new book for the 21st-century.

We reached out to Meghann for some insight into her process, as well as details regarding the forthcoming release of her monograph, Littoral Drift + Ecotone, published by Radius Books in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Meghann Riepenhoff, For Anna, Vol. II, Plate 15, 2016, 
Dynamic Cyanotype, algae and shoreline debris, 12x9" Image, Unique $3500
Courtesy of  EUQINOM Gallery

photo-eye:     What inspired you to create the pieces that are included in LIGHT + METAL?

Meghann Riepenhoff:     The first female photographer, Anna Atkins, was also a pioneer in botanical/scientific illustration. She used specimens collected from the shorelines and made cyanotype photograms with them. Her minimal, elegant compositions offered a new way of seeing, and a new way of understanding the world. Previously, scientific illustrations were hand-drawn approximations until Atkins’ British Algae introduced a new way to record the environment around us.

pe:     Why did you choose to work with the Cyanotype process?

MR:     I’m influenced by Atkins’ work, which illustrates the earliest relationship between photography and shoreline. In my work, I revisit the shoreline with cyanotype but make a new kind of image of the landscape, where elements in the environment are both subject and process.

Meghann Riepenhoff, For Anna, Vol II, Plate 28, 2017 
Dynamic Cyanotype, algae and shoreline debris, 12x9" Image, Unique, $3500
Courtesy of  EUQINOM Gallery

pe:     What can you tell us about your forthcoming book from Radius?

Littoral Drift + Ecotone 
 Photographs by Meghann Riepenhoff. 
 Radius Books/Yossi Milo Gallery, 2018
MR:     My book features work from my sister series Littoral Drift and Ecotone. Both series are unique, cameraless cyanotypes made directly in the landscape. We designed the book as a do-si-do (back-to-back binding), so that the series exists as both discrete and connected. The binding style also references cycles, natural forces that are paramount in my work.

The books contain three inserts: one that is full of images of process; one that shows a Littoral Drift cyanotype as it changes over time; and one that is all text. I had the absolute pleasure of having a conversation with Charlotte Cotton transcribed for the bulk of the text, and an introduction from Josh Chuang. Both of these brilliant people have informed my thinking and work, and I’m thrilled to have them as part of the project.

pe:     What is your favorite color?

MR:     Black is my favorite color, followed closely by Yves Klein blue.

Meghann Riepenhoff making work in the field.
Image courtesy of the artist.
Riepenhoff’s work has been exhibited and is held in the collections at the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), and the Worcester Art Museum. Additional collections include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which holds Riepenhoff’s 12’x18’ unique cyanotype. Additional exhibitions include the Aperture Foundation, San Francisco Camerawork, the Denver Art Museum, the New York Public Library, and the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston).

Riepenhoff's work has appeared in ArtForum, Aperture PhotoBook Review, The New York Times, Time Magazine Lightbox, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Oprah Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, Wired Magazine, and Photograph Magazine. Her first monograph, Littoral Drift + Ecotone, is due in October, as is published by Radius Books and Yossi Milo Gallery.

Riepenhoff is the recipient of a Fleishhacker Foundation grant, residencies at the Banff Centre, Rayko, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and an affiliate studio award at the Headlands Center for the Arts. She is a 2018-19 Guggenheim Fellow.

Riepenhoff is based in Bainbridge Island, WA and San Francisco, CA. She received a BFA in Photography from the University of Georgia, and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute. She is from Atlanta, GA.


LIGHT + METAL has been extended at photo-eye Gallery 
through Saturday, September 22nd, 2018. 

For additional information on Meghann Riepenhoff's work, 
and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or