Perspectives - The Blog

Tagged: Fraction Magazine


Posted by The Center on March 24, 2010

(Photo credit: Girl on Tilt-a-Whirl, Coney Island, NY by Isa Leshko)

Amusement park rides are vehicles for enacting fantasies for both children and adults alike. They simulate flight, daring sea adventures, and encounters with other worldly creatures. From the moment we strap ourselves into our seats, we surrender ourselves to these giant machines and the physical release they provide. The experience combines elation with fear; thrills with chills.

Photographer Isa Leshko’s series of silver gelatin prints, Thrills and Chills, was selected by juror Katherine Ware for the Center’s Portfolio Showcase Volume 4. In the series, Leshko approaches amusement parks both as a bystander–observing rides as they pass her by–and intermittently, as a participant. Both the adolescent excitement and nausea of the park’s attendees–and the multifarious motions and forms of the rides–characterize Leshko’s Holga images. Over the past year, the Thrills and Chills series won two awards at the 2009 Prix de la Photographie, Paris; five prints have been purchased by the Boston Public Library for their permanent collection; and most recently, the series was featured in this month’s edition of Fraction Magazine.

Discussing what the series means to her, Leshko’s artist statement reads:

These images explore the fantastic and sinister place these rides hold in my imagination. With some of these images, I suspend disbelief and embrace the underlying fantasies of these rides. With other images, I examine the tensions that exist between fantasy and reality. I am fascinated by the range of emotions—from anger to shock to disenchantment—that people exhibit in pursuit of the amusement these rides are supposed to provide.

(Photo Credit: Point Pleasant, NJ #1 by Isa Leshko)

(Photo credit: Swing Ride at the Big E by Isa Leshko)

(Photo credit: Waiting by Isa Leshko)

(Photo credit: Alice In Wonderland by Isa Leshko)

(Photo credit: Around the Bend by Isa Leshko)

(Photo Credit: Dangling Legs by Isa Leshko)

(Photo credit: Girls on Buccaneer, Hershey Park, PA by Isa Leshko)

(Photo credit: Roller Coaster Cables, Six Flags, NE by Isa Leshko)

(Photo credit: The Claw, Topsfield Fair, MA by Isa Leshko)

(Photo credit: Flying, Topsfield Fair by Isa Leshko)

(Photo credit: Offering to the Gods by Isa Leshko)

More of Isa’s work can be found at

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Posted by The Center on March 17, 2010

(Photo Credit: Berkeley, 2003 by Ellen Rennard)

Selected by juror Katherine Ware for the Center’s “Portfolio ShowCase Volume 4,” Ellen Rennard’s black-and-white photographs are both equestrian and pedestrian—with a focus on the waning culture of horseracing in New Mexico. Over the past couple of years, Rennard’s photographs have garnered recognition as a Flak Photo, as a feature in Fraction Magazine, as a Top 50 selection in Photo Lucida’s Critical Mass in 2009 and, most recently, as a solo exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography. For the most up-to-date news and views from Ellen Rennard, you can visit her blog, Quintessence, by clicking HERE.

Discussing her inspiration for her work and its relevance today, Rennard’s artist statement reads:

“Forty years ago, horseracing was the most popular spectator sport in America. Around that time, I rode a horse on the exercise track at Arlington Park. Decades later, I returned to photograph at The Downs at Albuquerque, a racetrack at the New Mexico state fairgrounds. Focusing on the people, horses, and trappings of ordinary life, I chose black and white film and silver gelatin prints to suggest the look of photographs from the heyday of racing. 

In spite of what still remains, horseracing has declined in recent years; crowds have thinned, and many small and mid-level tracks have closed. Many insiders now view horses merely as ‘product,’ and tracks increasingly depend on casinos to provide revenue. Still, at The Downs, vestiges of the past exist in the shadows of the grandstand that overlooks the finish line, and, in spite of the odds, true horsemen and women endure. For them, the horse still matters.”

(Photo Credit: Blinkers, 2007 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Corazon de Jesus, 2009 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Cowboy’s Fly Mask, 2008 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Jazz Time Boy, 2008 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Johanna Fastening the Girth, 2007 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Kayna’s Ponytail, 2009 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Mane, 2009 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Ponce, 2007 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Presence, 2009 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Resting, 2008 by Ellen Rennard)

(Photo Credit: Tacking Up, 2008 by Ellen Rennard)

More of Ellen’s work can be found at: