It looks for all the world like a scene from the Nativity, missing only three kings to wander across the snowy fields with their gifts for the Christ-child. For all the world, at least, is right: like Father Christmas, the New York-based photographer Grace Kim traversed the globe to create the single shot here.
For this image, taken from her latest series Constellations, is actually several photographs spliced together. "I am drawn to digital collage, because it echoes the process by which memory and subjectivity is constructed," Kim muses. "And with Photoshop I can work in such a way that the images seem almost real, but not quite."
This particular ethereal scene fuses the pyramids at Giza, faintly outlined in the background, snow-covered fields outside the picture-postcard town of Brasov, Romania, and a light-filled sky taken during a late-night flight into Berlin. "I like to play with the idea that different geographies and states of being can co-exist, with no sense of beginning or end." That would certainly explain the physics of Santa's journey, anyway.
For Kim, however, these chimeric scenes evoke a bleak majesty. "I have been preoccupied with themes of death and spirituality since the passing of my brother and father 10 years ago," she says. "The tension between beauty and melancholy is something I return to all the time," she says. And the reason for the black and white? "Duality is an essential theme in my work: man and nature, life and death, earth and the cosmos." And has this poetic vision helped her make sense of the world around her? "I'm not sure that it has, but they do reflect my process of trying, and that process is cathartic."
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