erin malone :: photography

artist statement

"Perhaps most intriguing of all is that it is possible to photograph what is impossible for the human eye to see - cumulative time."
—Michael Kenna

As a long-time practicing graphic designer, I have spent many years working with images and contemplating structures of composition with image and typography. The need to satisfy my creative side is expressed through photography and the images that I am both drawn to as a viewer as well as a maker tend to be the antithesis of the crisp, grid bound, modernist typographic, graphic design that I have spent many years making.

Whether made through pinhole or zoneplate "lenses" or through the use of plastic cameras like the Holga, my imagery is about time, light, motion and the layers of what happens when these elements are mixed together. Blur, expressive motion, moody edges, double exposures, and color come together to create the image I see in my mind rather than what is specifically in front of my eyes.

Through the development of several ongoing projects I am trying to understand the themes that run through my work so that I may follow them through to where they take me as an image maker.

Statements for individual bodies of work

Loss: Physical Memory Traversed at 70mph

As I drive my nearly 90-mile round trip commute, primarily up and down Highway 101, I often find myself daydreaming, barely aware of what I am passing by. The road is a blur.

With exploring my personal connection to Loss, I started thinking about all the other people who drive this highway and the odds that at any time you might not make it to your destination.

I started to think about the fatalities that happen and how the affected families might mark the loss of their loved one. What marks are left on the highway to signify the loss? I have become aware of the lack of anything noting that something happened here, something worth remembering.

Rarely, a cross or wreath is placed roadside, but most often the only thing to note a fatal accident is a bit of glass, a black mark on the median barrier or skid mark, or most often, nothing at all. With the variety of speeds during a rush hour commute, the ability to note any of these things is difficult even if you know where to look.

I often wonder if the other drivers, passing these spots on a daily basis, think about those lost or the loss of physical memory in this tunnel of space traversed at 70 mph. | Portfolio

California Impressions

These California landscapes explore texture and form and blurs the edges of how photography represents the landscape. My photographs seek to capture the quiet and everchanging light that moves across marsh wetlands and other favorite places at the different points in the day throughout the year. I use the simple Zoneplate and pinhole rather than a glass lens with 4x5 Polaroid media to explore the other-worldly experience more deeply. These methods reveal what cannot normally be seen. In my mind, that essence, captures the feelings and spirit the landscape that I imagine is there just under the surface. This is a current work in progress. | Portfolio

California Gold

Each spring, as the winter rains subside, the grass on the hills of northern California begins to grow tall and gold. By May, the grass is almost 4 feet tall and in the late evening, a brilliant gold. This collection of grass studies, captured over the last 3 years, explores the motion of the grass in the wind and evening light. All images created with 4x5 on instant sheet film (polaroid type 79 and fuji 100C-45) without a lens. This is an ongoing current project. | Portfolio

Black and White Landscapes

Several years ago, when I began seriously concentrating on working with 4x5 and with the pinhole camera, I began working with black and white polaroid material. Small black and white prints without a darkroom, I was hooked. Despite my focus on color imagery, I am drawn to the tones created by the black and white print of the landscape and seek to capture the richness of place. | Portfolio

Fragments of Missions

Living in California, I have heard a lot about the Missions of California, and have found that most people think this is the only place where the Spanish built missions. Unknown to many is the fact that Texas also has a small mission trail. Located in San Antonio, and ending downtown with the Alamo, they are now a National Historic Park. Although, I come from a long line of Texans, I have never lived in Texas and didn't really know about these Missions. On several trips to visit family, I have been exploring these Missions. I am interested in capturing fragments of the place and am drawn to the beauty of the stonework, the doorways and arches and the way they remind me of European structures. Although I am not specifically trying to make any kind of religious or political statement, there is inherent commentary due to the history of the subject matter. This is a current work in progress. | Portfolio

Inside Flora

Inside flora is a series of macro and motion images the express an abstract graphic quality that blurs the line between photo and painting. The images explore the soft edges of flower petals and interiors juxtaposed against the bright glowing colors created by the sun that seem to defy nature. Using motion and the macro lens, these images were made in my garden, in the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and in the Sierra. | Portfolio


A collection of portraits of my sister's and my pets throughout the years. Living with animals is a special experience. These images capture the personalities of my favorite companions. | Porfolio


Collected images of trees. I tend to be drawn to trees. They are the sentinals of the earth, they watch and wait and are witness to the human condition. They speak with the wind and through their sculptural qualities. | Portfolio


A variety of images from commercial photo shoots and travels around the world. | Portfolio

Urban Thoughts

architecture, buildings, and other evidence of human acctivity - in black and white. | Portfolio