Connecting Boundaries in the work of Carol Yarrow and Terri Warpinski

The two Drawers photographers whose work is on display this week, Carol Yarrow and Terri Warpinski, both traveled away from home to photograph these wonderful series: Yarrow photographs the many different personalities of primates in the jungle of Cameroon, while Warpinski’s Surface Tension focuses on the Berlin Wall, the U.S.-Mexico Border, and the Israeli-Palestinian separation border and the "multiple and conflicted personalities that complicate these places."

Terri Warpinski’s series “Surface Tension” focuses on border control and the chaos that often takes place in the areas where the borders are located. Some images focus on the physical land and the areas in which the borders have been made, whereas other images show groups of people anticipating their entrance onto the other side. Warpinski successfully uses diptychs and triptychs to heighten the viewer's sense of place as well as emphasize the notion of a divide that is physically created on the paper by dividing the images.

Many of the diptychs and triptychs serve as a narrative, leading the viewer from one image into the next. By making these connections there is a better understanding of what takes place in these highly guarded and concentrated borders. Warpinski states, “Walls and fences, embodiments of social and political oppositions, mark and divide the physical landscapes. Surface Tension utilizes various methods for capturing photographic images and incorporates the juxtaposition of images arranged in diptychs, triptychs or single frames.”

Carol Yarrow’s portraits of chimpanzees remind us of our shared ancestry with these “animals” and we’re reminded where we, as humans, truly originated from. Although most people consider apes to be animals, recent studies and lawsuits show that some people and scientists continue to convince the public that chimpanzees are legally human. Yarrow’s photographs only further confirm those statements when you notice the many personalities and human-like traits these chimps exhibit in her photographs.

The studies of animal behavior has a lengthly history when it comes to apes. Although one may point out that most chimpanzee emotions are noticeable in their eyes; they are extremely smart and talented. They know compassion and they know fear - something many humans tend to forget. Yarrow successfully photographs the chimps in their natural environment where they are comfortable with her presence and welcome her by allowing these portraits to be photographed. Yarrow captures the moments where some chimps are in a state of trance and others are completely locked in eye contact with her. Yarrow explains the experience as “life changing and life affirming.”

- Kory Jean Kingsley