Epiphany Knedler is a chronicler of American life and political fanatic. Growing up in Vermillion, South Dakota, she found comfort in Midwestern aesthetics and small town familiarity. She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a BFA in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography and a BA in Political Science. She strives to shed light on contemporary economic disparity through familiar environments. She is currently based in Greenville, North Carolina, pursuing an MFA in Photography at East Carolina University.
adaptations is a self-portrait reflecting on changes in my personal life during the past year. Using childhood photos from a family vacation in South Dakota, there is a focus on memory and nostalgia. I sent postcards messages to myself, indicating a personal move across the country. Poignancy and recollection are projected through these artifacts.
Below, Epiphany answered a few questions about her series and photography practice!
Why did you choose photography over other artistic mediums?
I was drawn to photography due to its natural ability to capture life. Realizing my interest in politics and need to create change, I found I did not want to pursue it through traditional political means. I decided to use the camera as a way to capture reality and shedding light on certain subject matter, like economic inequality or personal change.
How did this series start for you creatively?
adaptations began as a self-portrait project. I moved from my home state of South Dakota to North Carolina last summer to pursue my MFA degree at East Carolina University. This move, along with many other personal and familial changes, spurred personal reflection. Most of my work is not personal, so this project was a great change for me. I also challenged myself to work beyond the pure photograph and use text, communication, and collage to create artifacts.
What reflections have you come to after finishing this series? If you are still working on the series, what revelations have come up while creating the series?
adaptations is a finished project but has greatly inspired my current work. It gave me a means to reflect on the growth I have experienced over the past few year. My current series, Revitalization, focuses on economic shifts in the community of Greenville, North Carolina. I am using postcards, new media, and artifacts to show change and time from adaptations.
Who is your favorite photographer and why?
My favorite photographers are Bernd and Hilla Becher, the German conceptual photographers who inspired the New Topographics. Their typologies were pure documents which captured time and change but also had commentary on social and economic natures. They also helped create a shift in photography to give a platform for the everyday and banal.
Are there any books, movies, magazines or podcasts that you would recommend people to check out?
The films Moonrise Kingdom, Frances Ha, and Carol inspired the text and aesthetics for adaptations. I highly recommend the Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art, which include a wide variety of specific topics – my favorites are Documentary and Time. I also listen to podcasts on a daily basis. This American Life is my favorite, which has been telling everyday stories for years. I also love the political podcasts Pod Save America and More Perfect.
Lastly, what artists are currently inspiring you?
I was recently introduced to Alex Prager’s A Face in the Crowd which has been in the back of mind whenever I am making. Photographers Alec Soth and Matt Eich capture politics and compassion in their series. I also love Wendy Red Star for her use of text, artifacts, and social issues for her work.