Isa Leshko : ‘Thrills & Chills’ Photography Series

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“Bracing for the Fall”
Gelatin silver print
Isa Leshko
2009
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“Girl on Tilt-a-Whirl”
Gelatin silver print
Isa Leshko
2009
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“Point Pleasant, NJ #1”
Gelatin silver print
Isa Leshko
2009
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“Offering to the Gods”
Gelatin silver print
Isa Leshko
2009
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“Pirate Ship, Topsfield Fair, MA”
Gelatin silver print
Isa Leshko
2009
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“Swing Ride at the Big E”
Gelatin silver print
Isa Leshko
2009
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“Among the Trees”
Gelatin silver print
Isa Leshko
2009
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“The Wave”
Gelatin silver print
Isa Leshko
2009
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“Coaster at Dusk, Hershey Park, PA”
Gelatin silver print
Isa Leshko
2009
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Artist Statement

Amusement park rides terrify me, which is why I began photographing them. I am fascinated by what compels people to surrender themselves to these mechanical beasts. The rides seem to challenge the very limitations of being human. We can’t fly; yet these vertigo-inducing machines allow us to soar through the open air. The experience combines elation with fear; thrills with chills. These images explore the fantastic and sinister place these rides hold in my imagination. With some of these 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’m interested in exploring the range of emotions—from anger to shock to exultation—that people exhibit in pursuit of the amusement these rides are supposed to provide. I create these images with a Holga camera to provide them with a vernacular feel and a sense of immediacy. The camera’s plastic lens distorts the scale of these rides, particularly when they are photographed against an open sky. I also find working with an imprecise and flawed camera to be a frightening and liberating experience, akin to being on a roller coaster.

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Isa Leshko : Website

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