"Pine Cone Bath" by Katie Adkins, color photograph, 9x12, 2022.
ON THIS PIECE:
"[This series] 'Un/Natur/Al' is an examination of when two worlds — the natural and the man-made — are combined. The result is a multi-layered image, literally and metaphorically. 'Pine Cone Bath' demonstrates this literal layering effect with overlapping visual planes, a common feature of my work. The darker, shaded water with a perfectly defined edge creates a central feature of the photograph. The surrounding bathtub, the edges highlighted by natural light, acts as a frame to emphasize the subject, floating pine cones. Subtle shadows give weight to the otherwise seemingly levitating cones. Bits of bright white create movement in the lower corner, reflecting the sunlight off nearby surfaces.
"The literal layers create an opportunity for viewers to think more deeply about the inherent metaphorical layers. On the one hand, this is clearly a two-dimensional photograph. On the other hand, the layers create a dynamic scene full of movement. What, in this image, is the natural, and what is the man-made? The pine cones are obviously natural, harvested from a nearby park. Or are they? When I collected them, they were closed. To open them I gave them a bath. The tub is man-made; the water is natural. The sunlight is natural, but the shapes and reflections were created as a result of man-made structures. Can we even separate the natural and the man-made anymore?
"This image reinforces my philosophy as an artist, that layers are inherent in all subjects. And, while all of these observations about layers are true, what is also true is that I was drawn to the simplicity of this scene. Nothing pleases me more than natural light and the shapes, textures and colors it produces."
Katie Adkins is a photographer living in Little Rock, Arkansas. Originally a native of Atlanta, Georgia, she graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design and soon after moved to western South Dakota. After spending more than eight years in the Midwest, she has now settled back in the South, closer to home.
Adkins has worked in the art industry for many years as an artist, photojournalist and curator. She has worked with Magnum photographers Martin Parr and Alex Webb along with Rebecca Norris-Webb on their creative projects including Parr's commissioned show for The High Museum of Art's "Picturing the South" series in 2012.
Adkins' work has been exhibited in solo, group and juried exhibitions in galleries across the southern and midwestern U.S. including Local Color Studio in Fayetteville; Perspective Gallery in Jonesboro; Gallery 26 in Little Rock; Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, South Dakota; Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Bloomington Theatre and Arts Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Adkins was recently accepted to the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts's 2023-2025 Artist Registry, a juried list of 40 Arkansas women artists. Her work has been featured in a number of publications, including most recently the French publication OpenEye Magazine. Her photograph "Curiosity" from her series "MIDWAY" earned runner-up for the best-in-show award this summer as part of a juried exhibition.
As a photojournalist, Adkins’ photos have been published in The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, The Guardian and The Rapid City Journal. She currently works as a freelance photographer for The Associated Press. Her work is part of public and private collections across the U.S.