Kasey Medlin was born and raised in Austin, Texas, "an amazing place to grow up." She attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah and afterward moved to Atlanta with her partner. Her work focuses on the "unreliable nature of memories, our ability to rewrite our past, and the implications that has for our future." Medlin was chosen by juror Sam Barzilay as one of six artists to be included in our annual Portfolio exhibition.
How did you first become interested in photography?
I was interested in photojournalism as a kid, I shot for the yearbook in middle and high school, but I really fell in love with photography when I found a suitcase full of film cameras in our backyard shed. My step-brother had inherited them from his mother, who is a photographer, and she was happy I was putting the retired cameras to use. I experimented with them throughout high school and fell in love with shooting film.
Regarding your series Blush, there is a softness to the images, not many bright or primary colors, does the title refer to the color of blush? Is there something in this palette that interests you?
The title wasn’t chosen to describe the color palette, but I love that it can allude to it! When I started this series, I was recreating memories, purposefully looking through rose-colored glasses. It was natural to use soft colors and light that seemed to best communicate my romanticism of the past.
In your statement you say that "Blush is a narrative quest to reconcile the past with the present.” What or why do you need to reconcile with the past? How does photography allow you to do that?
I am guilty of living in the past, especially through my photography. When I started this series, I still felt like a 16-year-old girl, and I was trying to make images that described that feeling. But I as I went along, I found myself increasingly romanticizing my current situation. I was in the dreamland that is Savannah, GA in my last year in school where making art was my only concern. I was terrified of the future and that allowed me to finally live in the moment. Photography allowed me to capture these fleeting moments, my love for a place and time and my desire to stay in it.
Do you use photography more as an outlet to learn more about yourself or more about other people?
Lately, photography has been an outlet to learn more about myself. At other points in time, it was to learn about others. It's a cycle.
There is a pensive quality to your work, in how people are depicted. Sometimes there are signs that people have been present but there are no people, sometimes people are turned away or you can’t see their entire faces. Are these people meant to represent or introduce actual people, or are they representative of something else?
These photographs featured people only when necessary to communicate a feeling. I was frustrated with portraits because I thought a person’s face pigeon-holed a photograph. I didn’t want the viewer to think about the person’s expression, whether they are attracted to them or not if they should envy or pity them. I began to use people as props so that they could be anyone and everyone. I hoped this would make the photographs more relatable.
What role does home play in your work?
Home is huge! The concept of home goes hand in hand with nostalgia, which is at the core of my work. Home is the past, it is comfort, it is idealization, safety, innocence.
What was the last good book you read?
I have been on a Haruki Murakami kick since my partner introduced me to his work. I recently read Wild Sheep Chase. I love Murakami’s flavor of magical realism. 10/10 would recommend.