Images from Thrills and Chills, © Isa Leshko
(via Griffin Museum of Photography)
Thrills and Chills Photographs by Isa Leshko
April 8 through May 9, 2010
An opening reception is April 15, 6-9 PM. All are welcome.
While some people see pure fun in amusement park rides, photographer Isa Leshko explores "the fantastic and sinister place these rides hold in my imagination."
Thrills and Chills, a series of her photographs, is featured in the Griffin Gallery of the Griffin Museum April 8 through May 9. The exhibit is sponsored in part by Panopticon Imaging in Hingham, MA. An opening reception with the artist is April 15, 7-9 PM.
"Amusement park rides are vehicles for enacting fantasies for both children and adults alike," Leshko says. "They simulate flight, daring sea adventures, and encounters with other worldly creatures. From the moment we strap ourselves into our seats, we surrender ourselves to these giant machines and the physical release they provide. The experience combines elation with fear; thrills with chills."
She says when creating some of the images, "I suspend disbelief and embrace the underlying fantasies of these rides. With other images, I examine the tensions that exist between fantasy and reality. I am fascinated by the range of emotions - from anger to shock to disenchantment - that people exhibit in pursuit of the amusement these rides are supposed to provide."
Leshko says she uses a Holga camera to give her images "a vernacular feel and a sense of immediacy. I print these images deliberately dark to reflect the murky realm I envision these mechanical beasts inhabiting."
Leshko grew up in an industrial town situated off the New Jersey Turnpike. She received a bachelor's degree from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where she studied psychology with an emphasis on neurobiology and cognitive science. She spent the 1990s working for dot.com startups as a project manager and software engineer, before discovering her passion for photography.
She studied at the New England School of Photography and the Woodstock Center for Photography and completed the Artist's Professional Toolbox program sponsored by the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston. Her work has been exhibited widely.
After 16 years of living in various New England communities, including Providence, RI; Portsmouth, NH; and Salem, MA, she moved to Houston, TX, in October 2009.
Be sure to also revisit our conversation with Isa here: A Conversation with Isa Leshko