Rodin’s Photographer
By Jenn Reidel

“Her strength is that she is capable of haunting.” ~ Auguste Rodin

The genesis of the idea was sparked at the Maryhill Museum of Art. I was inspired by Rodin's sculpture I saw there, and even more captivated by the photos of his entourage of artists, poets, and dancers. Who could be the “Unknown Photographer” attributed to some of the photos? I wondered what would it have been like to meet Rodin and his artist friends? What would happen if I had relationships with them? What wisdom would they share?

This exhibition follows the Unknown Photographer through her early work as a Victorian “spirit photographer,” as well as her work with Rodin in France. There are portraits of Rodin and his famous friends such as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. There are also intimate photos that Rodin took of the photographer during their time together. This famous sculptor is a catalyst for her transformation. Perhaps we can be transformed, too, by the beauty from the “Unknown.” The photos are accompanied byreal and imagined excerpts from letters and diaries, historical references, and poetry.

To tell this story I had the help of many Vashon artists and friends. Featured are sculptures by Michael Magrath and dances performed by Abby Enson, who portrays Rodin’s muse Loie Fuller and Arlette Moody as Isadora Duncan.

About Jenn Reidel

I am inspired by the mystery of dreams and myth. For as long as I can remember I have written down my dreams upon awakening. My narrative work combines my favorite mediums of photography, performance and writing. Since 1997 I have acted out stories before my camera on Vashon Island. Much of my artistic career has been spent in black and white darkrooms, and I’ve experimented with many alternative processes, including cyanotypes, polaroid transfers, photo-etchings and encaustic transfers.

My solo exhibitions, “In Her Dreams,” “Ghosts in Love,” “A Fury Tale,” “The Desk,” and “Heart Crown” have been shown in galleries on Vashon and in Seattle. For the past four years I’ve worked on the photo series “Rodin’s Photographer.” I studied creative writing at the University of Cincinnati and earned a certificate in Fine Art Photography from the Photographic Center Northwest. I was awarded an Artist Trust GAP grant for my series, "In Her Dreams,"  and was represented for many years by Gallery 070 on Vashon Island. For more information or to purchase artworks, please write me at jenn(at)jennreidel.com.

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