Vaune Trachtman

Great Artists

Layered photo of boy and house

Vaune Trachtman

In "Now Is Always," her series of photopolymer gravures, Trachtman layers negatives taken by her late father of his Philadelphia friends and neighbors during the Depression, with her own cell phone images, taken almost a century later. She explains it as "a sense of collapsed-yet-expanded time." [Credit, left, Vaune Trachtman, "Starren" from "Now is Always" series]

Vaune Trachtman, artist against backdrop of trees and sunset

Trachtman's blurry, dreamy, layered images suggest movement as well as memory. In her "Now is Always" series, Trachtman mixes the past and present, layering her own photography onto her father's Depression-era negatives. Her father died in 1971, when Trachtman was 5. 

In her artist statement about "Now is Always," Trachtman says, "I want to create a feeling of collapsed-yet-expanded time. Yes, I want to see what my father saw, and yes, I want him to see what I see. But I also want the viewer to look at the past, and I want the past to look right back; I want the viewer and the subject to each feel the gaze of the other. And by combining images taken almost a century apart, I also want to seamlessly integrate layers of technology and image-making history: his 1930’s point-and-shoot, my iPhone, his silver-gelatin negatives, my Photoshop files, our shared sunlight and water, the traditions of ink, elbow grease, and an intaglio press." 

Trachtman's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, as well as locally at the Vermont Center for Photography in Brattleboro, where she lives. She has also created original art and photomontage for film and TV set decoration, including the HBO Max reboot of "Gossip Girl." Her work inspired YWP's "Unleash Your Inner Artist" workshop in March 2023. 

Two dreamy photos by Vaune Trachtman
Credit: Vaune Trachtman, left, "Reverie" from "Now Is Always" series; right, "Home (2019)"

Trachtman writes on her website, "Throughout my life, I have always taken pictures. Over time, it seemed that no matter what camera or film or printing process I used, all of my photos had the same transitory, dreamlike quality. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that I have been taking pictures of the spaces between places—between here and there, between life and death, between sleep and waking. I think it is fitting that for the last few years my camera of choice has been a cell phone, a device that is in-between a telephone and a camera."

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