About the Photographer
Justine Kurland practices a style of photographic mannerism that exploits staged realities in order to explore the social landscape of girlhood. The adolescents of Kurland's pictures move in groups through open vistas and sheltered areas, bold adventurers seeking and sometimes finding havens in hostile environments. The landscapes themselves are majestic, and the postures and activities of the girls often create a mysterious, even foreboding tone. In Slumber Party (Denver, Colorado), for instance, girls in sleeping bags lie scattered across an unprotected expanse. The result is epic imagery, where isolated figures braving elemental situations are wrought in a narrative style of photography that is inventive, dramatic, and fragmentary. The stagecraft of Kurland's art is achieved through a collaboration between the artist and her models, who are very real girls in real life. Upon the selection of a location, usually a place important to locals and sometimes suggested by the girls themselves, Kurland talks about certain themes and scenarios – the runaway, the road, a shared paradise – which her models respond to and interpret for the camera.
Justine Kurland was born in Warsaw, New York in 1969. Her MFA in Photography is from Yale University (1998). She has had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2003); Columbus State University, Columbus, Georgia (2003); Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand (2002); Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York (2002); the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2002); Torch Galerie, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2001); Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium (2001); and Módulo, Lisbon, Portugal (2001).