I first saw Katie Koti’s work in 2012 while jurying Critical Mass, and I was blown away – no easy feat, when your work is one of two hundred portfolios. Katie’s photographs are raw and wide-open in a way that is both refreshing and a little unsettling. The energy and unselfconscious way the subjects seem to embrace life and each other feels rare, precious, and foreign. I want to keep looking, either to puzzle it out or to wonder at the pure beauty. But I want to just keep looking. . .
My photographs liberate me from the restraints, boundaries, and rules of life. Since I was a child I have felt restricted by the confines of everything from my clothing, to my body, to social expectations and gender binaries. As an artist I am able to create worlds that allow me to escape from these confines, worlds illustrating my dreams, my fears, my realities and my fantasies.
My current body of work, Chosen Blood is an ongoing exploration that brings to light familial aspects of the human experience and the intricate ties formed with others; the bonds between blood and chosen blood. This project explores the intimacy and truths of the body and spirit; innate and extrinsic attractions and behaviors. The closeness of this family is rare. My photographs strive to celebrate this closeness, their wildness, their innocence, their energy, their vulnerability.
My world with Jessi and her kids is far from a perfect one, but within all of the darkness and day-to-day stresses, I can’t help but to find a sense of redemption surrounding this world. There is a freedom I have never felt before when I am connected to these four people. Within their home and moving out to the surrounding landscape of Western Massachusetts, I have found a place where we can all be the animals we truly are. A place where we are free, even if only for the moments when the outside world is kept at bay. Free to be wild, to be curious, to explore intimacy, to find ourselves to lose our minds in beautiful and forgiving ways.