In a sense my work is a tribute is to my fellow Flaneuse; those women who, until the last century, could not explore the city streets without an escort, to do so would invite repercussions relative to their reputation (for instance being labeled a whore). Flaneuse is a French term derived from flaneur; privileged men who wandered aimlessly through the streets, but for them there were never any repercussions to their reputation.
As a second-generation cult survivor, I have in a sense been a flaneuse on different levels; I possess a label many are not familiar with, combined with my exploratory and wandering nature that has taken me to over thirty countries on this great planet.
For me, photography began as a medium to simply chronicle my world travels, scientific expeditions and philanthropy. It eventually evolved, progressing towards more of an art form and a foil for healing a broken spirit.
My landscape work is exploratory and diverse, spanning the color, black & white and infrared processes; curating those moments in whatever wildernesses unfold before me are communal and restorative. Often, I have explored these places on my own – never knowing at the time what a flaneuse even was.
In addition to my landscape work I have ventured into portrait photography to expand my ability to document the more intimate aspects of life. Much of my work has been done with local communities of color.
The healing has not come through monetary means, on the contrary, it has come through the relationships I have nurtured with those landscapes and the people who inhabit them. These gifts are reminders of the priceless nature of our humanity; something I was robbed of at a young age. I now inhabit the archetype of the wanderer, of an explorer seeking those connections lost somewhere behind the ranges.
My work has found a home in internationally recognized publications such as Black & White (Winner of the "People's Choice Award" Single Image Contest), National Geographic's #portraitsofstrength, Getty Images, the Royal Geographic Society Magazine, ND Magazine, Mammoth Hunt (Harpers Collins) and Popular Photography.
In addition to those publications I have been juried into several exhibits including the Blue Sky Gallery 2017 Viewing Drawers, the Regional Arts and Culture's Portable Works collection, multiple juried exhibits and blue ribbons at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts (2012, 2013, 2015), New York Center for Photographic Art "Juror's Selection", Portland Open Studios, NewSpace Center for Photography, the Portland Bridge Festival, and The Great Photography Weekend with the late great Galen Rowell - 3rd Place Scenic.
My publications include my memoir “The Thunderstorms of Eden” about my journey and recovery as a second-generation cult survivor from the abuses incurred by the Church of Scientology as a child. You can find the images referred to in my book in the gallery “Something Lost Behind the Ranges.”
In addition to my memoir I have also published “Cambodia Awakening,” a photographic essay as interpreted through the eyes of Khmer Rouge Genocide survivors.
Both can be found at http://www.focaldreams.com/Publications
My commercial clientele include Adidas US (including work exhibited in Herzogenaurach, Germany) and other local Portland area based businesses such as Tempo Cycling and Tsaicomms. I do portrait and smaller wedding venues.
Influencers I greatly admire are James Natchwey and Sebastiao Salgado, two unflinching, brilliant human beings who have brought human suffering to the level of art. Their work is controversial as they create riveting imagery through the horrendous suffering of others. For most I think the images provoke compassion, not disdain.
And of course fellow flaneuse, Nevada Wier and her exceptional ability to stir awe through the imagining of people and places makes her one of the great photographers of our time.
You can follow me on my blog, at Facebook/Focaldreams, Twitter @focaldreams, Instagram/Focaldreams.
Sandra Kay – Focaldreams
....Second-Generation Cult Survivor