BCL Featured Artist: Deb Klein—Capturing the Unplanned in the Everyday
Just a Moment is BCL’s latest art installation on the third floor cafe by Deb Klein, a former, long-term BCL member and New York City based photographer. This series of photographs features friends and strangers and focuses on reactions, responses, caught in the moment. According to Deb, expressions and gestures are so fleeting, and she loves freezing them in time.
Capturing Beauty in Unchoreographed Ways
Deb shares that her love for photography started at an early age. In high school, she had the opportunity to explore this artistic medium with her beloved teacher Mr. Gordon. Deb was immediately immersed into the world of photography, learning how to develop photographs in a dark room and use an analog camera. Since high school, she has pursued photography in a variety of contexts.
Professionally, Deb considers herself an environmental portraitist, placing her subjects—usually people and oftentimes their partners or pets—in natural lighting while focusing on the needs and wants of the client. Her street photography uses many of these same elements—capturing beauty in unchoreographed ways, captivating the eye and drawing in the viewer. Deb tells us that she strives to create pieces where the viewer can’t tear themselves away, where they’re engaged with the subject, and where they want to know the story of the people, places, and things in the moments she recorded.
The photographic journey for Deb began in high school, with an analog camera and a dark room, but today, it’s a whole different ballgame. Even though she loves the old-school processes, she works almost exclusively with digital photography, due to a lack of time and darkroom space. Deb tells us that she dreams of the day when she can turn her bathroom, basement, or any extra room, into a personal darkroom, but for now, her images are captured on her trusty Fuji mirrorless camera. After experimenting with other cameras, and experiencing some back pain from heavier devices, Deb settled on this model. With a different mechanism inside, the camera is lighter and less bulky and takes beautiful images without the use of a mirror.
Finding Inspiration From Feelings, People, and the Environment
Deb says that she is inspired by her contemporaries, specifically the many photographers she follows on Instagram. While she sees these artists to be influential, her real inspiration is simply the world around her—the events and sights she sees, and the feelings conjured by them.
Deb finds her subjects in a variety of ways—some people she knows and others are people she has just met. Depending on the day, her mood, and her subjects’ disposition, Deb may strike up a conversation with the individuals, talks that often blossom into longtime friendships. There are people like Dirk, a man captured sitting and drinking by himself on a dirty couch in a barn at a music festival. Her brief photograph turned into an introduction, then developed into a two-hour conversation. Today, the pair is still friends on Facebook.
Other times, Deb says that she remains more distant, snapping a few pictures before quietly removing herself from her subject. She often reflects on what could have been if she had worked up the gumption to speak to these people—missed conversations and connections are aspects of Deb’s work that she regrets.
Moving on to New Adventures
A native New Yorker, Deb will be leaving this bustling city for the sandy beaches of Brighton, England. Her new adventure begins in May, and she shares with us that she’s excited to be inspired by a new place. Deb is ready to explore new people and places, as well as the emotions her new surroundings will create. According to Deb, a benefit of Brighton, and the U.K. in general, is that the people there seem to be more open to having their photographs taken. Men, women, and children are generally more comfortable with having their pictures taken by photographers on the street. This openness to photography, conversations, and connections is an exciting new opportunity for her.
While she will be leaving Brooklyn for Brighton, New York will always be Deb’s hometown and she plans to continue her photography career in this vibrant city when she returns home for visits. With a plan to do photography sessions in New York on her return trips from Brighton, she tells us that she hopes to keep her connection with BCL and its members strong.
To see more of Deb’s work, visit her website, Deb Klein Photo.