Working in color with a medium format film camera and in black and white with a 35mm, along with a hand-held digital camera, Jill Katz most often photographs landscapes and cityscapes. Whether showing the meandering roads through Tibet, sun-bleached signs of Memphis, or the Bosphorus shoreline animated by floating balloons in Istanbul, Katz’s photographs are observant and poetic in execution. They invite us to consider the ways in which the unique histories of a place are enduringly present and even transcend distance.
Each photo distills a sense of commonality, form, and experience from multiple destinations. The ordinary, the beauty of contingency, the aim of an egalitarian form of photography is at the heart of each image. While people are not often present, they are visible in traces and indexes of absence—of knotted rope; faded, abandoned flags; empty chairs—and in spirit. Formal concerns of color, composition, and perspective frame and ignite the ordinary, as the pictorial structure oscillates between several elements in a single image: an arresting hue of green is a point of entry, followed by a row of trees, a river, and mountains—creating a gateway to a landscape.
Place, a sense of belonging, and discovery are entered into through this gateway. A consideration of place beyond what we know and what is familiar drives Katz to photograph—with each new experience an appreciation for the gifts each place has been.