After the “Yale girl rush” of the early half of this decade and Gregory Crewdson’s unyielding presence, cinematically staged photography has become dangerous territory. The vacant stares and “in-between moments” that have become the calling card of this work have lost their ability to draw us in. Enter Caitlin Atkinson. This young San Francisco photographer makes her NY debut at Foley Gallery this month with a show called “Chapters”. Atkinson’s work is all self-portraiture with its primary subjects being anxiety, failure and embarrassment. Her acting becomes important in the work and she is for the most part pretty convincing. In Chapter 5, April 2004 we see her standing in an empty parking lot
of a big box store with a few bags in her hands and not a soul in sight. Whether she has been abandoned is not clear. In this photo she has a Chaplin-esque quality which reveals that Caitlin the character in the photograph is upset, but Caitlin the photographer sees the comic side to this tragedy. Her awareness of blowing out of proportion these relatively everyday moments runs throughout the work and transcends the feeling of solipsism one might initially get upon seeing a gallery full of self-portraits.