Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Alternate Realities — Lydia McCarthy

May 20, 2018 - Ellen Bahr

I first met Lydia McCarthy in the entryway to the library where I work. She had come to Alfred University to interview for a position in the department of drawing, painting, and photography. At the time, I didn’t know that we would become friends and that she would be an important force in my return to photography after a long break, including helping me to make the transition from analog to digital photography, and expanding my appreciation of the place of photography in the world of contemporary art.


Included here is work from her series, Non-Game Ecstasy:


“Non-Game Ecstasy encompasses the bliss and fear that psychedelic experience invokes. Objects, colors and patterns, built up through multiple exposures on color film, act as talismans and transport the seeker to alternate realities. Grids connect seemingly banal, every-day objects, with shifts in scale and focus complicating the image. In contrast, photographs of singular objects within a void rise up sharp, clear and un-manipulated. Together, the distinction between what is real and what is unreal disintegrates. Non-Game Ecstasy moves through the dark and the light, with the acknowledgement that each contains the other and that one’s reality is contingent upon their perception.”


Lydia​ ​​McCarthy ​is​ ​a​ ​Brooklyn-based​ ​artist.​ ​Her​ ​work​ ​has​ ​been exhibited​ ​widely,​ ​including​ ​106​ ​Green,​ ​Essex​ ​Flowers​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Scandinavia​ ​House​ ​in New​ ​York​ ​and​ ​NAU​ ​Gallery​ ​in​ ​Stockholm.​ ​Lydia’s​ ​work​ ​has​ ​been​ ​reviewed​ ​and published​ ​in​ ​The​ ​New​ ​Yorker,​ ​Art F City, The​ ​Wall​ ​Street​ ​Journal,​ ​Dossier​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Huffington​ ​Post. She​ ​received​ ​a​ ​yearlong​ ​American-Scandinavian​ ​Foundation​ ​Fellowship​ ​and​ ​has​ ​held residencies​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Banff​ ​Centre​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Vermont​ ​Studio​ ​Center.​ ​Her​ ​book​ ​Vision​ ​5:​ ​The Vibratory​ ​Waves​ ​of​ ​External​ ​Unity ​was​ ​released​ ​with​ ​Silent​ ​Face​ ​Projects​ ​at​ ​the​ ​New York​ ​Art​ ​Book​ ​Fair​ at MoMA PS1 ​last​ ​fall.​ ​Lydia​ ​is​ ​an​ ​Assistant​ ​Professor​ ​of​ ​Photography​ ​in​ ​the​ ​School of​ ​Art​ ​and​ ​Design​ ​at​ ​Alfred​ ​University.