The Space Between
by Karla Fandel
My most recent work reflects the rise and fall of a four year relationship. Before I met the man in the photographs I dreamt of falling in love with someone, believing that it would cure my acute loneliness. I was so thrilled when I did meet him and after 7 months of dating we moved in together. I started taking photographs of him 2 years into our relationship when I started to realize that things were not turning out as I hoped for when daydreaming about relationships. I started to document the way he was every day. This was a person I was in love with yet felt a distance from because his world existed mainly in the small space of our apartment. He did not like to leave the safety of the house and my world started to get smaller and the only way for me to face the reality of our relationship was to photograph him. I started to fall in love with the photographs of this person more than I was actually in love with him. The things that were pushing me away from him were the very reasons why I loved taking his photo: the awkwardness of his body, his strange facial expressions that directly reflected what was going on in his heart, the way he cut himself off from the outside world almost completely. In the final months of our relationship I started to photograph myself in order to balance the weight I felt I was carrying knowing that we should no longer be together. I needed the self portraits as evidence that the space between my former partner and I was right even when it didn’t feel that way.
Karla Fandel was born in San Diego, California, and fell in love with photography at age 15 when she was given her grandfather’s camera. She grew restless in Southern California, and moved north to pursue her BA at Humboldt State University. She found her way to New York City by way of Portland, OR, and received her Master’s of Fine Art in Photography and an Advanced Art and Design Teaching Certificate from Pratt Institute in 2010. While the darkroom is her first love, teaching has become a close second. She has taught for the Guggenheim Museums and Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. She currently lives in California.