Lauren Orchowski’s photographic practice is driven by the need to document and re-envision our relationship to astrophysical environments. Her images are made by relentlessly creating analog film based photographs within the upside down and backwards world of 8" x 10" and 7" x 17" large and ultra large format cameras. Having received her first Instamatic camera at the age of 7 she began documenting her immediate industrialized riverscape of upstate New York while traveling on a small boat, and has been making images ever since. Working in a darkroom since the age of 15, her studio process is deeply rooted in chemistry and a methodical patience mixed with serendipitous chance and ultimately invites the viewer to experience the materiality of photography. She approaches the privilege of seeing with an unwavering respect for how we experience and perceive the spectral shifts of light and darkness and their impact on the human condition.
Combining the chemical processes of the darkroom while drawing upon her background in painting, drawing, and printmaking Orchowski creates her three dimensional sculptures- “theaters” utilizing photographic paper for her hand built re-envisioned worlds. The theaters are viewed in a room of complete darkness where their miniature contents exist in a universe of speculative fiction under the skies of antiquity.
Orchowski’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, in galleries and museums as well as on the International Space Station. Most recently her project "The Observable Universe, Near and Far" received an Honorable Mention from the 2019 HARIBAN AWARD, was shortlisted for the FOTOFILMIC MESH PRIZE by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art curator Rebecca Morse and included in the inaugural RUST BELT BIENNIAL. Her long-term documentary project “Rocket Science” was selected by Darius Himes as the Second Runner Up in the Portfolio Category of 2010 International Photo Book Now Competition. Her work is represented in several collections including The Bienecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, The Rutgers Archives for Printmaking, The George Eastman House, The Annenberg Space for Photography, The International Center of Photography, and has been reviewed and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Scientific American, Gizmodo- France, United States, and Australia, photoworks UK, LENSCRATCH, and Art.Critical.
In 1997 she earned her BFA in Photography from Arizona State University and in 2008 she received an MFA in Photography from Hunter College, City University of New York. In 2006 she was awarded a fellowship to study Visual Communication at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, Germany. She lives and works in New York City.
View through the ground glass of 7" x 17" camera from under the dark cloth