Meet Hannah Altman

Artist Statement
Jewish folklore suggests that the memory of an action is as primary as the action itself. This is to say that when my hand is wounded, I remember other hands. I trace ache back to other aches - when my mother grabbed my wrist too hard pulling me across the intersection, when my grandmother’s fingers went numb on the ship headed towards America fleeing the Nazis, when Miriam’s palms enduringly poured water for the Hebrews throughout their biblical desert journey - this is how the Jew is able to fathom an ache. Treating photographs in this body of work as stories with individual bloodlines of their own, I explore notions of Jewish memory, narrative heirlooms, and interpretive image making. To encounter an image is not to ask what it feels like, but to ask: what does it remember like?

Tell us your artist story, some biographical info, when did you decide to be an artist? Why do you make art? Where did you study? Etc.
I’m from New Jersey, and completed my BFA in photography at Point Park University in
Pittsburgh. I am now an MFA candidate in photography at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where I’ll be graduating this Spring. I make art to further modes of conversation; I am particularly in love with photography’s ability to function as visual literature.

What do you want people to walk away with after experiencing your work?
I like to think that my work has layers of understanding. Though it very much revolves around Jewish ideology, there are universal feelings expressed that can place the viewer, the artist, and the subject matter under the same umbrella of empathy.

What influences your work? Why?
I love fiction short stories and think a lot of my work materializes in the same way - complicated,incomplete, poetic - with the ability to both stand on its own and exist as part of a larger whole.

What does it mean to you to participate in Hera an exhibiting artist for the In God We Trust
I think it’s really important to engage religious work in a feminist space as we grapple with the large issue of how these two intersecting points exist in relation to each other. Hosting a show about religion at one of the oldest women founded spaces in the country is really exciting for that reason; it provides a physical space for these complex problems to be considered.

To learn more about Hannah and her work visit, https://www.hannahaltmanphoto.com/#1


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