Untitled, from the series Rising
Untitled, from the series Rising
RISING is the working title of a recent and ongoing body of work, a kind of hybrid of street photography and environmental portraiture, the subject of which is a diverse, unknown, and constantly changing population of people.
The photographs from this project are made in a single location, the exit escalator of an urban public transportation system, a crossroads of the world in miniature. I photograph mostly on sunny days, during the hours when the angle of the sun is steep enough to force the image background into darkness and ambiguity, while simultaneously allowing for the gradual illumination of subjects as they rise from underground darkness into the light of day. They are alone or in groups, in conversation or lost in thought, at once isolated and jammed together in the claustrophobic, moving space of the escalator. I am interested in the moments just prior to their stepping out onto the public space of the street and the next phase of their journey.
In part, RISING constitutes an investigation of both the subject’s and my own relationship to space in its various permutations: private space, public space, psychological and emotional space, the space inside and outside of one’s head. The project also references the act of observation, and, stretched to its contemporary extreme, surveillance. I try to stand still and out of the way, but, in what I can only describe as a simplified, photographic version of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, I affect the subject’s perception of me, and vice versa. Ideally, I would be invisible, but, if I am noticed, some level of reaction to my presence is unavoidable and is thus incorporated into the overall strategy of the project.
—Karl Baden



Karl Baden has been a photographer since 1972. His photographs have been widely exhibited, including at the Robert Mann Gallery; Zabriskie Gallery; Marcuse Pfeifer Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Howard Yezerski Gallery; The Institute of Contemporary Art; Decordova Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; Musée Batut in France; Photokina in Cologne, Germany; and The Photographers Gallery in London. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Kenan Foundation and Light Work Visual Studies. His photographs and visual books are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Addison Gallery of American Art; Polaroid International Collection; the List Visual Arts Center at MIT; the Guggenheim Museum; the New York Public Library and the Boston Public Library. He has been on the faculty at Boston College since 1989.

In 2012, Baden was one of 15 photographers from around the world, living and deceased, to participate in the exhibition Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Question of Colour, held at Somerset House In London. A 250-page book accompanies the exhibition.

In 2000, Baden was the subject of a 26-year retrospective exhibition at Light Work Visual Studies. How did I Get Here?, a 48-page catalogue, accompanies the exhibition.

In 2014, Blue Sky Books published a monograph of some of Baden’s work from the 1980s, entitled Work from two Bodies.

Karl Baden is represented by the Miller Yezerski Gallery: milleryezerskigallery.com.



email: badenk@gmail.com

Instagram: karl_baden

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