Justine Kurland
[Photographer, b. 1969, Warsaw, New York, lives mostly on the road.]

 There’s something political about creating a world that you want to exist. 
 It seemed clear to me early on that one of the things a photograph could do was make a reality, and I wanted to do that. I always think of looking inside an Easter egg and seeing a perfect world. 
 Every adventure I’ve ever had with love and photography has ended in a similar misadventure. As is often the case, the rush of longing detaches from its object of desire, and my photographic ghosts lead me back to myself, alone. 
 There’s this way that photography is always about going out searching. I’m not the kind of a photographer who can photograph my home. 
 The naked figures in the landscape have willingly undressed for my camera. They are either perfect beings heroically occupying their Edens, or else they are gardeners after the Fall, lost and exposed to both the elements and the lens. 
 I drove from New York to California by myself. The iconography of travel and escape is everywhere in my photographs… So actually becoming a runaway was crucial. I had this idea that I'd make my way across the frontier and find my story as it was actually happening in the landscape. 
 I started going to museums at an early age, but my imagery is equally influenced by illustrations from the fairy tales I read as a child. 
 If I stage things too much and nothing changes in the act of photographing, then I might as well have not taken the picture: If the whole thing already exists in my head, then I haven’t learned anything. The tension lies between the staging and the unpredictability. 
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