Artist Statement: Transportation Transformations

image of Cruisin 32 Ford by Kathleen Hocker Photography

Cruisin 32 Ford by Kathleen Hocker

As I approached retirement after many years of teaching, I rediscovered my passion for photography. With newly found time and energy, I sought out situations that provided opportunities to shoot systematically and extensively. After a long career in chemistry and physics, I was drawn to mechanical objects that for me were fascinating on several levels. The surfaces and components of these machines contain a wealth of raw material for creating photographic images.

In engineering a vehicle, as with any successful design, form follows function. In my photos this function of the object becomes irrelevant as I create a new form from the basic elements that are presented. The new form becomes more interesting than the intended function of the vehicles. I attempt to renew and preserve the artifacts from different stages of technology. That which was once new became old and now becomes new again.

In Transportation Transformations, I have concentrated on details of vehicles that have been transformed by nature or by the camera lens. Nature has eroded and rusted surfaces. Sometimes, the vehicles provide a place for plant material to grow and transform the machine into a suitable home. Nature has taken what was once smooth and shiny and transformed the vehicle into texture and entropy. What was whole becomes perforated and broken. My work discovers what is left behind that is still intriguing and visually captivating. When the machinery is new or restored, I work with the camera to transform the vehicle to appear in a different form. Brightly colored or shiny parts are isolated to be appreciated for their individual form or beauty.

I look through the camera lens as both artist and scientist, to uncover the hidden reality that lies beyond the obvious. I study complex systems of mechanical devices and see the simplicity of the structure — the elegance of the fundamental form that underlies the function of the machine. I present these in a visually formal composition. These images seek to present the balance found within a chaotic world as I attempt to preserve what is beautiful and meaningful.

Technically, I shoot mostly with a 300 mm lens that serves to magnify and reduce the dimensionality of the object that is forming my images. I use the camera lens as a microscope to research little noticed parts that can be isolated and transformed into photographic images. The images I capture lose the identity of the vehicle and study the lines, shapes, patterns and colors balance of the image. Designs tend to be asymmetrical to show the dynamic balance that is found in working machines that is sometimes lost in two-dimensional images.

I have travelled from big city auto shows to small town auto museums and country auto graveyards. I have visited aircraft carriers in naval yards and airplanes in museums throughout the United States. I have walked railroad tracks and discovered trains in dozens of museums and depots.

The opportunity to find meaningful images is all around us.

— Kathleen Hocker

Transportation Transformations at South Shore Arts

Rhythym in chrome by Kathleen Hocker

Purple and Chrome by Kathleen Hocker

Transportation Transformations: Photography by Kathleen Hocker will be on exhibit from April 10 to June 27, 2015 at South Shore Arts.

South Shore Arts, 123 N Main Street, Crown Point, In 46307 is located one block North of the Old Courthouse Square on the West side of the street across from the Library. Show hours are 10:00am to 4:00pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

Beyond the Obvious

March 7 through April 27
Atrium Gallery
South Shore Arts Center for Visual and Performing Arts
1040 Ridge Road
Munster, Indiana 46321
Gallery ans Gift Shop Mon- Fri 10-5
Sat 10-4
Sun 12-4

Phone 219/836-1839

Artist’s Statement

Having been immersed in chemistry and physics as a scientist, I am drawn artistically to the natural world which is fascinating on various levels. The surfaces and components of these organic bodies provided a wealth of raw material for discovering photographic images. The visual products are a result of  exploring ideas and images by looking closely, seeing differently and recording the results..

These images are the result of the interaction between what the human eye sees, what the camera lens captures and what the printing process brings into permanence. The natural world is huge.  Decisions are made to select a very small segment that isolate some adaptation of what is present.  By eliminating parts that detract or distract, a graphic image becomes almost unrecognizable from the original, whole object.  The segment, taken out of the context of the natural world, becomes an evocative image instead of an historical document.

Although I have gone from scientist to artist, there is no contradiction in my approach to the world. Neither is there a contradiction between the community of the classroom and the solitary search for images.  To teach is to take raw potential and guide it through a process of interactions that build and nurture unrealized strengths.  The satisfaction of this process finds a parallel in capturing photographic images. I seek to discover the strong visual elements that are hidden in the object and eliminate those elements that distract from a new composition. In both cases satisfaction comes from the fulfillment of hidden and unrealized potential that lies within the seemingly ordinary material.

In Beyond the Obvious I have concentrated on details that can be transformed by nature or by the camera lens.  I look as a scientist would, for the hidden reality that lies beyond the obvious appearance. I study the complex systems of nature and see the simplicity of the structure — the elegance of the fundamental form that underlies the essences of the object.  I present these in a visually formal composition.  These images seek to present the balance found within a chaotic world as I attempt to preserve what is beautiful and meaningful.  I use the camera lens as I would use a microscope to research little noticed parts that can be isolated and transformed into photographic images.

– Kathleen Hocker

Transportation Transformations

In engineering a vehicle, machine or any successful design, form typically follows function. In my photos function becomes irrelevant as I create a new form from the basic elements that are presented.  The new form becomes more important to me than the intended function of the vehicles.  I attempt to renew and preserve the artifacts from different stages of technology.  That which was new became old and now becomes new again.

Although I am on a journey from scientist to artist, there is no contradiction in my approach to the world. Neither is there a contradiction between the community of the classroom and the solitary search for images.  To teach is to take raw potential and guide it through a process of interactions that build and nurture unrealized strengths.  The satisfaction of this process finds a parallel in capturing certain images when I respond to building on strong visual elements and eliminating those elements that distract from a new product. In both cases satisfaction comes from the fulfillment of hidden and unrealized potential.

In Transportation Transformations I have concentrated on details of vehicles that have been transformed by nature or by the camera lens.  I look as a scientist would, for the hidden reality that lies beyond the obvious appearance. I study the complex systems of mechanical devices and see the simplicity of the structure — the elegance of the fundamental form that underlies the function of the machine.  I present these in a visually formal composition.  These images seek to present the balance found within a chaotic world as I attempt to preserve what is beautiful and meaningful to me.  I use the camera lens as a microscope to research little noticed parts that can be isolated and transformed into photographic images.

– Kathleen Hocker