Shimmering Shadows

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Rachel Murray was always making art and objects as a child, and this kind of activity-creating objects and experimental environments-still comes naturally to her. In high school her artwork was put on hold so that she could take additional science courses, and it was not until college that her two interests reconverged. While earning an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Smith College and a Master’s in Industrial Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she turned to art courses as a release. Struggling with drawing, she decided to take a photography course, feeling this might be a faster form of expression. She did not own a camera, and had to select one from a bin of loaners. The one she grabbed was an old twin-lens 2 1/4 Rollei, and she has been using a square-format Rolleiflex ever since. In 1986 Murray met photographer Edmund Teske, who proved to be a major influence. Teske sought to map an inner spiritual realm using some of the same images over and over again as icons or archetypes. This repetitive use of images broke a long-held taboo for her. Listening to an inner voice, she found herself reusing strong individual images in a variety of ways — straight, layered, projected, and rephotographed. She began a period of spiritual exploration that led to a type of Buddhist meditation involving chant, which along with vegetarianism, she still practices today. She believes these two elements contribute to an ongoing self-awareness and deliberateness that find their way into her work. © The Art of Enhanced Photography