The Pepsi sign on I-83 in Baltimore once glowed red, white, and blue with a digital clock and thermometer as I drove by on my daily expressway commute. But a two-cent bottle tax to support Baltimore City’s ailing schools led Pepsi to abandon the area. I assumed that exploring the deserted 16-acre site would generate nostalgia for the “whole new way of living, coming alive and feeling free with Pepsi”! Instead, I was a voyeur into an exotic space/time long severed from the disconnected, dispassionate, and hyperreal present.
13’ X 19’ Archival Pigment Prints
Caption for photo
The Spontaneity series illustrates the present sensibility of the digital photographic image as a means of communication and interaction. Strangers in Baltimore, New York City, and London were greeted with “Hi, Can I take your picture?” for each photograph in the series.
Vilem Flusser, media philosopher (1920-1991), suggested that new technologies are generating a ‘spiritual’ revolution in which synthetic, computer generated images and the digital photograph that ‘calculate the world’ are now required to ‘transmit the thoughts and concepts that we have concerning the world’. Linguistic communication, both the spoken and written word, are no longer capable of doing this.
“…It is my firm belief, that if you want, nowadays, to have a clear and distinct communication of your concepts, you have to use synthetic images, no longer words. And this is a veritable revolution in thinking…which can be compared to the one that gave origin to history (Vilem Flusser 1988).
13” x 19” Archival Pigment Prints
Now I See Kiev in My Dreams: Words and Pictures of New Americans
“My grandparents came to this country from Byelorussia and Lithuania. My parents assimilated rapidly into American life… My grandparents were very different from my parents. They ate different foods, wore different clothes, and spoke to each other in a language I didn’t understand. They died while I was still a child, and I was never able to ask important questions of them. As a teenager, my curiosity about this lost world was aroused by the plight of the Jews remaining in the Soviet Union. The restrictions on the practice of their religion and on travel within and outside their country moved me to participate in the effort to gain their freedom. Their story became a metaphor for my personal struggles and for the missing links to my past.”
Cindy Konits 1994
Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, through the Maryland Humanities Council, Inc., the "Now I See Kiev in My Dreams": Words and Pictures of New Americans catalogue and traveling solo exhibition comprises a series of 22 30"x30" color portraits of immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Baltimore 1992, juxtaposed with photographs brought from their former homes and bilingual excerpts from oral histories. "Now I See Kiev In My Dreams" was shown at The Jewish Historical Society of Maryland, Baltimore Maryland, and The Weiner Judaic Museum of The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, Rockville Maryland. A selection of photographs from the exhibition are in the permanent collection of the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, Tel Aviv Israel, and the Jewish Heritage Center Archives, Baltimore Maryland.
The Best Woman for the Job: Portraits of Non-Traditional Working Women
Fortunately, women in the non-traditional roles included in this series are not completely rare. But the individual woman who pursues a career as an airline mechanic, railroad engineer, laborer, or carpenter is often defying the expectations of family, friends, and male co-workers. I have enjoyed working with each of these women and I would like this project to credit them for their courage and tenacity and for simply being role models for others to make independent choices.
Cindy Konits 1992
Series of 40 10” x 10” Silver Gelatin Prints