the story of an evocative black + white renegade | by Christine Kapuschinsky
Hi! I’m Christine, the artist behind Kapuschinsky. I'm a self-taught, internationally recognized, award winning fine artist best known for creating evocative monochromatic imagery. I use my maiden name for all my work as a way to pay homage to my father for sparking my love for photography when I was still a child. I recently found out my late grandfather was also passionate about photography, so it has all the more meaning to me to carry on the family name! Although I currently reside in Pennsylvania, I began to seriously pursue photography and refine my style during the several years I lived with my husband and children in Southern California. I am most drawn to black and white imagery because I find that focusing on light, shape and texture without the overt distraction of color can be a captivating and powerful way to set a mood and convey emotion.
Photography is only one outlet to my passion, which is art. As a child, I loved anything that involved creating- whether it was drawing, painting, building, writing or composing music. I also love to garden, build dollhouse furniture and collect oddities such as bottle caps and shot glasses. I guess I’m a bit of an eclectic. Being a realist, I used to love to draw everything around me with my charcoal pencils or water color pastels. Once I graduated high school, I had every intention of studying Architecture Design Graphics at a nearby art school, but because of how incredibly expensive it was, I opted instead to take up some general art courses at a community college for a year. Last minute, I changed my mind and took a more practical approach, wanting to utilize my love for teaching by changing majors to Math Secondary Ed, but studies came to a halt with a cross-country move with my husband to California. Shortly after, we were blessed with our first child and my sketching and drawing quickly went on the backburner, as I abruptly discovered how time consuming motherhood can be! Nevertheless, having an incessant urge to create, I began looking for fun ways to document my children instead. Photography quickly became my newest obsession and creative outlet.
Because of my personality, my mood is highly influenced by the environment I’m in to the point that my work just naturally adapts to the atmosphere surrounding me. When we lived in Los Angeles, I focused on producing lots of bold, high contrast imagery from all the grandiose modern architecture of the city and my day-to-day lifestyle work was often carefree and bright, as I normally shot in the hard light that was perpetually around me in that beautiful, upbeat and climate. Now that I’m back on the East Coast, out of the big city and living a much more rural life, my images are more centered around nature, and my documentary and fine art work tends to be darker and low-key because that’s the kind of environment I live in.
Although I enjoy photographing many different types of subjects from nature to architecture to abstract, one of the areas I often gravitate toward is children. For one, I love to observe their impetuous, lively and carefree manners as they absorb and appreciate the world around them and secondly, I find that the innocence and candor of a child can be a useful method to convey a worthwhile meaning. Because of this, most of my childhood imagery is candid, although I also like to delve into surreal, posed and compositing when working on a conceptual idea. Regardless of the type of response my work creates, I hope my images can strike a chord with the viewer in an impacting and meaningful way.
I’m a bit of a renegade, choosing to follow my own whims instead of the latest trends in the industry. Channeling my primary roots in drawing and painting, each photo is meticulously hand edited in GIMP. I liken it to a digital canvas. I also like to prove it’s not all about the camera, or the lens, or the editing software- it’s the person behind the camera that makes the image. I find inspiration all around me, but especially in music, poetry and nature, as I enjoy life alongside my dear family.
Always being drawn to the atmosphere of rich monochromatic imagery, I was immediately transfixed by Hengki Koentjoro’s minimalist but incredibly moody and beautiful black and white imagery. To this day, he is still one of my favorite contemporary artists out there. The late Ansel Adams is right up there with him.
Ironically, although I often tend to produce dark and moody imagery, I also enjoy perusing through other artists’ work that is vivid, bright and airy. I think it’s great to take in and appreciate other images that are nothing like your own style in order to broaden your understanding of how the world around you can be displayed in so many different, beautiful and unimaginable ways.
If I had to describe my style in 3 words, I suppose I’d go with moody, evocative, and unique.
Although I take clients from time to time, I currently do not run a full-time business because I’ve found that I’d rather focus the majority of my time and energy on my responsibilities as a wife and mother. These kids are growing up so fast, and I don’t want to look back at their childhood and regret that I didn’t devote more time to them because I was too busy focusing on myself. There will come a time and place for that. So I pursue my passion as a photographer and artist, but do not prioritize it over my family. This is also incredibly liberating, as it allows me to create what I want and how I want without the typical constraints of client demands. If anything, I’d much rather get more into fine art sales, mentoring, and teaching.
The past 8 months have been physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting, and a huge setback to my photography, as my chronic migraines and neuralgia got overwhelmingly worse with the pregnancy of our 5th child. It forced me to just let go of everything and rely on God to get me through each day, as I had absolutely no energy for anything else. Now that I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, as our baby is due in early July, I’m simply hoping to get back into the swing of things - I feel like I’ve been out of the loop for so long! I do also have a couple long term projects in mind - especially being back in this distinctively peculiar and riveting anthracite region of Northeast PA. I hope to focus some future projects on its dark yet intriguing past and on the lives and circumstances that shaped the era of the coal mining industry. In the meantime, I continue to capture the people and things around me with the hope to create thought provoking work that leaves a meaningful and lasting impression.