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Kiera Hight - "Natsukashii"

May 2019

Kiera Hight
1st Floor Hallway

Artist Statement: 

Natsukashii is a Japanese saying that has no direct translation into English. The closest equivalent is a state of nostalgia, reminiscent of good memories, something yearned for, dear, cherished, and missed. But where nostalgia expresses a longing to return to a time or place when things were good, it is tinged with melancholy, even sadness and anxiety. (Indeed, the word comes from the Greek nostos, meaning homecoming, and algos meaning pain, and was first used to diagnose a medical condition of homesick soldiers). Natsukashii, on the other hand, is often absent this gloominess and suggests something slightly different: a happiness to be remembering a fond memory, sometimes with implications of nostalgia for a flawless past that never was.

Through the use of film photography I explore the relation of a remembered past and the fleeting feeling of memories. The use of light leaks, multiple exposures, film grain and more detonates a nostalgic feel that should express itself to the viewer regardless of personal experience. Each photo's intent is to convey the disjointed way we view our past. The truth is that what you remember used to be, never was. The human mind pieces together moments frozen in time and combines them with moments of elsewhere. These moments are pictures that have been painted over with positive emotions that may never have existed when the memory was formed. Often times we look back on the past with a sort of film that blankets our experiences. Obscuring the details, shrouding the undesirable moments, and thus blurring our remembrance into something that resembles a collective, shared peace. Natsukashii is to look at these moments, remember, admire, recognize the distortion, and then move forward. Always forward.

Artist Bio:

Filmmaker and photographer, Kiera Hight, uses her medium as a means to tell the stories she feels passionate for. Shared connection is a driving force in her work and her passion pushes her to forge that connection through the use of striking imagery, light, and color. While crisp imaging creates a sense of hyper realism that serves to represent a picturesque idea of reality, Hight utilizes techniques reminiscent of an older style of photography that rely on soft imaging and film grain to denote a sense of reality that is more organic and familiar. Using these methods, she wishes to covey a sense of soft beauty and interest that can be lost in an era of modern media. Based in Lynchburg, Virginia she continues her work with film and photography in pursuit of stories worth telling.