Danelle Manthey

10 x 10 in.

My intention as a photographer is to continually refine and deepen my understanding of the portrait and its potential for interpreting and constructing identity.

With each of my photographic series I have attempted to explore different possibilities for creating portraiture. In the series Lighted Lanes, which became my submission piece for chashama´s Artist Residency Program, I photographed people in my hometown of Sioux Falls, SD in front of their houses that they had adorned for the Christmas Season. The idea behind the series was to express an aspect of the subject’s identity through the person’s relationship to an object of their own creation. I returned to South Dakota in December 2005 to re-photograph families where I was unsatisfied with my previous results and adding some new faces to this project.

Using the space provided by chashama, I tried to plumb the idea of the subject as an active co-creator, a collaborator in the portrayal of her or his own identity by inviting people, mostly non-artists, into a studio space and asking them to create the environment in which they would be photographed. Giving them limited instruction and supplying basic tools; background paper, paint, markers, ect…; I wanted to see how someone would express themselves in a visual manner.

I believe that the key to understanding something about who someone else is, and communicating that understanding through a photographic portrait ultimately comes down to the strength and depth of the connection between photographer and subject. I continually look for this connection to show identity in all of its forms.

© Danelle Manthey