Keller uses camera to reflect loneliness

Keller uses camera to reflect loneliness by David Lias Heinke Keller knows what loneliness is all about.

She's not afraid to let other people get a sense of what she feels from time to time.

Keller, a photographer from Vermillion's sister city, Ratingen, Germany, made her first trip to the United States to display her work Oct. 9 at The University of South Dakota.

There are no scenes of peaceful sunsets, of kids playing or people working in her photography.

In fact, there's no life at all in her scenes. She strives, by using inanimate objects, to stretch the imaginations of those who view her work.

She's not afraid to tug at one's emotions, either.

She knows that some people react negatively to the lifeless nature of her photos.

Her goal, however, is to challenge people to use their minds and come up with their own interpretations of the scenes she carefully creates.

"The artistic style of expression of my photography came into being by the suicide of my husband," Keller said. "Anxiety and isolation required introspection that resulted in my photos reflecting my situation in life. The possibility to make that visible I found in photography."

The first photo she created after her husband's death showed a telephone receiver with a torn wire lying on an asphalt street. It is called "Interrupted Connection."

"Expressive puppets handmade my the Dutch artist Leni

Lintelo seemed to put themselves in my place," Keller said. "Death and loneliness � situations every human being has to go through � I showed and described in my own way."

As she began to further explore this form of photography as an expression of art, she found herself despising liveliness and vividness, she said.

"No green meadows or blue sky with white clouds � no reproductions anymore," she said. "I wanted to express myself in abstract terms."

Sunlight is the sole natural element in her work today, providing brightness and warmth to her photos.

And the objects of her works basically are society's discarded objects.

"The objects are dead, destroyed things which once were basic human commodities, then changed and altered by water, fire and environmental influences and contamination," Keller said. "I discovered in them fascinating objects with which I could realize my ideas in imaginative ways and finish the pictures inside me."

As she creates her works in her studio, she often doesn't know what her final results will be until she views them through the viewfinder of her camera.

"Within my loneliness, it may happen that you are distressed by some of the photographs," she said, "but it might be appropriate or necessary to show these contrasting circumstances just now, in these times."

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