On the Cover: Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

On the Cover: Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels 

Untitled from "Baptism"

Untitled from “Baptism” - Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels, digital print, 24"x32", 2010.
  • Untitled from “Baptism”Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels, digital print, 24"x32", 2010.

Think of the expression you would make if a bucket of frigid water was thrown over your head. For Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels's series "Baptism," she asked her subjects to keep a neutral face as she did just that, and snapped a photo as the freezing droplets hit their skin.

Don't be thrown off by the title. For Mahar-Daniels, "Baptism" is about the aesthetic rather than the spiritual. The series was inspired by a photograph Mahar-Daniels took of her mother just out of the shower. To Mahar-Daniels, it evoked vulnerability and freshness. "I focused on the cleansing and the purifying aspect—almost like stripping the emotional palette," she says.

Mahar-Daniels directed the models to stay still as they anticipated the cold shock—an experiment to see what emotion would translate. Their expressions ranged from discomfort to bliss and utter ecstasy to despair.

Seating her subjects in a chair centered in a 12-foot kiddie pool, each was drenched with cups, buckets, and even large containers requiring a multi-person effort. Shot in a studio, the volume of water displaced completely destroyed the hardwood floor.

Mahar-Daniels leaves her work untitled. "Titles tell people what to get from it or what they should look for," says Mahar-Daniels. "Even if I simply put their name as the title, the viewer would then have a specific association with that name. I wanted them to have a completely clean slate."

"Baptism" is made up of portraits against a blank, grey background—a style inspired by Richard Avedon's "The American West" series. "His portraits are simple and plain but they have so much depth," says Mahar-Daniels.

Mahar-Daniels's interest in photography budded early on. Everyday for two years she took a photo of the sunset in her hometown of Beacon using a disposable camera. "It sounds cheesy but I was seven," Mahar-Daniels says. Still a firm believer in film, she shot "Baptism" using a Mamiya RB67 medium format camera, with 120mm film.

Mahar-Daniels wants the viewer to relate in someway to the rawness of a candid reaction. "The idea is human beings looking at other human beings," she says.

Portfolio: Caitlinnmahardaniels.com.

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
HOME/WORK @ JDJ | The Ice House

HOME/WORK

June 29-Sept. 2 — Each of the artists in HOME/WORK were asked to think about the...
Verisimilitude: Watercolors and Drawings Exhibit by Annamarie Evans @ East Fishkill Community Library

Verisimilitude: Watercolors and Drawings Exhibit by Annamarie Evans

Aug. 1-31 — The East Fishkill Community Library is proud to show the work of...

View all of today's events

Chronogram on Instagram

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • A Little Touch of Stardust: Where to Celebrate 50 Years of Woodstock in the Hudson Valley
  • A Little Touch of Stardust: Where to Celebrate 50 Years of Woodstock in the Hudson Valley

    Here in the Hudson Valley and Catskills there’s a coziness about the Woodstock '69 50th anniversary. While tie dye and tolerance have never really gone out of style around here, those who’d like to mark the anniversary in some way have a number of local goings-on to slake their thirst for nostalgia, peace, love and music. Hey now, we still know how to brew that stuff from scratch.
    • Aug 16, 2019
  • Voices of the Earth Festival at Seed Song Farm
  • Voices of the Earth Festival at Seed Song Farm

    The first ever Voices of the Earth Festival on Labor Day weekend brings together musicians, dancers, artists, and speakers of both indigenous and transplanted heritage, with environmental groups to inspire a culture of celebration and action toward a healthy Earth.
    • Aug 15, 2019
  • Iconic Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Crafts Fair is Paradise For Lovers of the Handmade
  • Iconic Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Crafts Fair is Paradise For Lovers of the Handmade

    The Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz will transform into a wonderland of creativity, packed with dozens of masterful makers: fiber artists, metal sculptors, woodcrafters, fine artists, jewelers and more for the Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Crafts Fair, which has been happening each Memorial Day and Labor Day for nearly four decades.
    • Aug 15, 2019
  • More »