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Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
Maureen Ruddy Burkhart

Maureen Ruddy Burkhart

Country: United States
Birth: 1954

My creative quest has always been about the 'journey' as opposed to the 'destination'. The first is experiential, alive, organic; that latter seems rushed.

I grew up in places that I now see as exotic, but at the time I just thought it was terribly inconvenient and definitely too far from friends back 'home'.

In 1971, at age 17, I left Iran, after three years, in tears and some relief. I immediately thought 'why didn't I take any pictures there?'. I fell in love with that country and its people, but I would not be going back (at least, not yet!).

Holding onto what memories I had taken with me, I vowed this would not happen again. So I enrolled in the SFAI. Many years have unfolded since then, and I've been a filmmaker (when 'film' was film), a writer/director, an I.Q. tester, stock photographer, and a documentary and fine art photographer.

My most seminal work to date, in terms of how it changed my worldly perceptions, came after spending some three years on and off working for a documentary project in the Kibera slum of Kenya. "Kibera: A Slice of Heaven" earned numerous international awards and press, but my favorite was a local 'Artist of the Year' in Longmont, Colorado. The Firehouse Art Center curator, Jessica Kooiman Parker, called it an 'act of bravery'. Reflecting on that, I realized that bravery is a way to change the world AND the photographer, one heart at a time. The power of photography is truly unlimited.

Amidst a crazy world (and always being on the move), I developed a love of landscape photography. Most people acknowledge that nature can be a place of solace and inspiration. While it is definitely the same for me, I've been creating 'scenes' from nature. I often photograph the same landscape over and over, taking my favorite parts of the series and compositing them into a singular landscape that mimics my relationship to it. It's fantasy, whimsy, and hope. In my darker landscapes, there's a moody melancholia…but I never lose sight of the hope.

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I grew up with analog photography and this has shaped me first of all. Thus, I am now very well be able to touch this analog in my image processing to achieve! AAP: How long have you been a photographer? PA: I have worked for over 20 years as a professional photographer. Before that, I financed my studies in Biology with smaller photo jobs. My first photos were nature photography, macro photography of animals and plants. After this the portrait photograph was added. AAP: What or who inspires you? PA: Edward Steichen & Robert Mapplethorpe! Both have always touched my soul in a special way!But in general I consider myself away from These kinds of inspiration! It would be too manipulative and determined by others, to allow more of it than I do this currently... AAP: How could you describe your style? PA: My style has only an analog touch, which often is derived from the early days of analog photography. I am fascinated by this authenticity that has shaped this wonderful photography. 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