OUR KING WOMAN; JANE OLIN
Jane Olin has lived and worked as a photographer in California’s Monterey Bay area for over for over twenty-five years. Living at the epicenter for the West Coast photography movement, she learned the skills of straight photography and the tenets of the historic Group f/64 from the assistants and students of Ansel Adams. She participated in workshops with prestigious photographers including Ruth Bernhard, John Sexton, Joyce Tenneson, Brian Taylor, Martha Casanave, Holly Roberts, and Christopher James, which enriched and broadened her perspective.
Olin has traveled widely and, of all countries she visited Japan had the most profound impact. Its aesthetics and its Zen Buddhism resonated deeply, particularly its emphasis on beauty found in nature, in simplicity, the imperfect, the transient, and in the values of grace and subtlety, which all suited her well. She maintains a mindfulness practice today, and present moment awareness is imbedded in her photographic process.
Although subtle influences from straight photography remain, Olin has developed a distinctly personal vision. She works in series of related images, a practice that allows for extended explorations of her subject. An adventurer, she enjoys experimenting both in camera and in the darkroom. In her previous bodies of work, Greta and Thirteen Crows, Olin’s unconventional handling of her pinhole camera and darkroom enlarger challenged traditional expectations of focus and exposure. Her recent series of abstractions, Site/Sight Unseen, arose from an unfixed print mistakenly overlooked in the darkroom sink. When rediscovered, its unexpected beauty prompted a new way of working, in which process rather than a preconceived idea took precedence. Pushing the boundaries of analog photography, Olin purposely pours, sprays, and drips chemicals onto her exposed gelatin silver paper, manipulating and closely monitoring changing effects using intuition and an alchemist’s attention to detail. These one-of-a-kind silver gelatin images are enlarged and printed using the digital process. Olin continues to innovate in this vein, experimenting with new subjects and approaches as her latest and still-evolving tree project, Intimate Conversation, clearly reveals.