Large Format Photography Project Focuses on Girlhood

Sometimes it takes time to see what your images mean in the grand scheme of things. Discovering that theme can lead to powerful stories that can inspire others. Photographer Angela Strassheim‘s latest exhibit, Project Atrium, illustrates the transition from a child to adult. All that from a female point of view:

Strassheim uses a 4×5 large format camera, because she’s in love with the selective focus it can create by tilting and shifting the lens. It can be done on a DSLR but not to that extent. The images for her rarely come by chance. She develops an idea and tries to recreate it. As she states, it can take her years for a shot to be done right.

“The thing about photography that’s so amazing is that it feels a lot like making music to me. I love being in that moment more than anything. It’s this whole choreography. It’s chaos. That to me is what photography is about… that moment of making the photograph.”

For Project Atrium, Strassheim returned to Oregon to catch up with her brother’s family, who she used to photograph a decade ago. She wanted to try to get to know them and their individual changes again through her camera, with a focus on girlhood.

4x5 portraits

prints of girlhood memories

The idea of the project was to avoid the cliche picture-next-to-another-picture gallery style placement. Instead, Strassheim uses the placement to tell the story even further. She uses large prints—some more than two meters high—and places them on a wall at the monumental Haskell Atrium Gallery where the prints can be seen from three floors.

photos of childhood memories

Every shot and every print placement is carefully planned out in order to present her vision as a whole. Each picture is a segment of the story, and the story wouldn’t be the same if anything was missing.

“I like for my images to be a little more open ended, and I like them to ask more questions than give answers.”

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