Jordie is from Louisville, Kentucky, and she’s currently living in Los Angeles, California. In 2013 she got her BFA from the Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky; immediately after receiving her bachelor, she decided to go to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. This week, she will graduate from UCLA with an MFA in Photography!
She works with the camera because “it allows me to be very loose and experimental, and it gives a permission to make mistakes. I started out making paintings, years ago, but it felt so deliberate to make a mark on a blank canvas, and the final piece always seemed so precious, which I’m very averse to. Photography allows for virtually endless avenues of experimentation…” She has never been interested in the “perfect” image, a blurred one would be valued as much as any sharply focused counterpart.
For her works, a great amount of inspiration comes from both poetry and fiction. The opportunities to create rhythm with language makes her working to emulate such strategies: “attempting to maintain ambiguity within individual images, but allowing rhythm, tone, and association to transform to work into something entirely different when the photographs occupy the same room as one another. I think a lot about the possibly of making images that can exist in-between definition… I use warm, directional lighting to intensify the drama in each scene, and as such, spend a lot of time leafing through Caravaggio books in the library.”
She needs always to find constant balance between making work outside and inside the studio, the medium really allows the act of making anywhere. Her works is structured “around welcoming chance”: when she has a clear idea of something she’d like to make in the studio, she makes a quick (and often completely illegible) sketch, and tries to translate it. During these shoots, she is usually in in front of the camera as well, the shutter is triggered by a remote in her hands and sometimes she tapes off a section of the ground to understand what the camera is seeing. “…often, the photograph that ends up embodying my initial idea is miles and miles away from the sketch I was attempting to recreate. It’s very important for me to both maintain a loose control and relinquish total control simultaneously. The final results are always surprising, nothing close to what I could have ever imagined on my own, and that constant surprise is so generative and energizing.”
At the moment, she is trying to find new means with which to expand upon the ideas she wants to communicate. Sculptures, structures of drywall and boxes, physical iterations of bodily impact, videos. Her aim is to continue making photographs while testing the limits of her visual language. She will soon graduate with an MFA from UCLA and she just signed on her own studio space in Los Angeles; she’ll be teaching a summer photography course at UCLA in July and after that, “who knows what’s in store for the future? Regardless, I’ll keep making new work, and that alone seems exciting!” We wish Jordie good luck!
All Rights Reserved to Jordie Oetken
Please seek permission before using