Photo of Kate by Eva O'Leary
Kate Klingbeil nominated the photographer Eva O'Leary:
Eva O'Leary captures something unusual from her subjects, a gaze so real you feel like you can understand a stranger's soul. When I look at her pictures, I relate deeply, I can feel their humanity. Although they might appear to be far from someone I think I could understand (fraternity brothers, middle school girls, older women with plastic surgery or babies) they are baring their humanity to Eva, their gaze documented by her unique lens. It's her pictures of people that capture my attention the most, the pictures that I think about. I admire the honest connection between the subject and viewer that is apparent throughout Eva's work.
Her pictures function as paintings, walking the line between reality and surrealism. Often, it's their truth that translates as something far more surreal than anything constructed entirely from scratch. Her process praises the awkward and uncomfortable through connecting with strangers. She often photographs friends of friends, craigslist recruits or college kids, and it's this dedication to the unknown that I find fascinating and moving. Eva intentionally places herself in uncomfortable social situations in order to make a great picture, which takes vulnerability and courage. Her work wrestles with being in between two places, metaphorically or physically. She's dealing with transitions, moving between childhood and adulthood, between the age of analog and cyborg, the beautiful deterioration and acceptance of being human within a shifting technological landscape. My relationship with Eva goes back almost 10 years, and I continue to see her as not only my friend, but a powerful force in the art world, constantly making challenging and inspiring pictures that are mysterious and masterful yet completely relatable.
Work by Eva O'Leary: