Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Conversation with Kelli Pennington

Ablaze, from Liminal Bliss © Kelli Pennington

Kelli Pennington is currently pursuing a MFA degree in Photography at Syracuse University. Her approach to photography is natural and showcases poetic moments in life.

Intimacy, from Liminal Bliss © Kelli Pennington

Nymphoto: Tell us a little about yourself?

Kelli Pennington: I grew up in Southern Maryland just south of Washington D.C. Since, I have moved around spending time in Albuquerque, Portland and Prague. I have a TEFL degree and taught English to school children at the Euro Space Center in Belgium. I currently live in Syracuse, NY where I’m in my final semester of Graduate School. I live on the north-side of town with my partner Julian and our small grey Chihuahua - Kailer. The snowfall here averages around 122 inches each winter, so I own more than a few pairs of long-johns.

HummingBird, from Liminal Bliss © Kelli Pennington

NP: How did you discover photography?

KP: My mother photographed often when I was young. I seem to remember her hobby having an abrupt end- soon after she found me playing with her camera's shutter. I guess she forgave me - years later, she gifted me a camera for my 16th birthday.

Black Interior, from Liminal Bliss © Kelli Pennington

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

KP: I find that life is full of inspiring instances. I search for small instances where I feel like I’m the only witness, moments that I think other people miss. I find inspiration in my connections with others; my relationships propel and perplex me. I’m a social person but you’ll never find me on Facebook - I adore face to face. There is a type of energy that is generated from contact with those that you cherish. My work deals with instances that are derived from that type of energy.

Reflection, from Liminal Bliss © Kelli Pennington

Lately - Julian and I have been taking long distance bike rides in the summer. These travels combine the voyeurism of being a passer-by and an unaccustomed awareness and sensitivity to the environment.

Submerged, from Liminal Bliss © Kelli Pennington

NP: How do your projects come about?

KP: For the last seven years I have photographed moments from my life. After graduating from undergrad, while living at home with my parents, I figured I’d keep a visual diary of my unplanned life. My photographic sensibilities were shaped by this body of work. I shoot in the moment and rely on available light. This body of work is ongoing and will be released as a limited edition book later this year.

Ontario, from Liminal Bliss © Kelli Pennington

Outside of the life project, many of my other projects are motivated by seeking a connection or understanding. I am working on a body of work that investigates sustainable communities. While I was an artist-in-residence at Saltonstall in Ithaca, NY this past summer, I photographed EcoVillage Ithaca. I have a deep interest in individuals that have made efforts to realign their lifestyle with their politics and beliefs.

Apparition, from Liminal Bliss © Kelli Pennington

NP: What’s next?

KP: We’re moving to Portland, Oregon in June after I finish school. We lived there before moving to Syracuse so I’m looking forward to returning to the rain and flowers. Once in Oregon I’ll continue working on my sustainable communities project, try to find a teaching job, and gardening. My end goal is to establish a sustainable artist residency and community center so I'll be laying the ground work for the non-profit.

I will also be selling a limited edition 2003-2010 book of my work on my website and during my MFA Show in NYC at Dumbo Art Space the first week of June.

Raspberry Catch, from Liminal Bliss © Kelli Pennington

To see more of Kelli Pennington's work, head to

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