I recently met Rita at the Filter Photography Festival's portfolio review in Chicago and connected to her work and style of shooting right away. And then she told me about the innovative ways she gets the work in front of people, and I was hooked. This project has two parts, portraits and interiors. We are featuring just the interiors in FOCAL POINT, but I strongly encourage you to see the full body of work on her website.
RITE OF ORDINARY: INTERIOR INDIANA BY RITA KOEHLER
Rite of Ordinary: Interior Indiana is a conceptual, photographic documentary that examines the domestic lives of same-gendered couples living in Northern Indiana. Through the assemblage of things that constitute a home, viewers are invited to enter into and inhabit the spaces of these couples’ portraits—to work, to speculate, and to encounter small confrontations with respect to the current paradigm of “normal” regarding gender, sexuality, love, home, family, and relationships. In the cities where these images were taken and where they are being exhibited in homes for sale to be stumbled upon by unsuspecting home-buyers; projected onto the exterior facades of local civic buildings and universities; and exhibited on yard signs around city neighborhoods, the work counters the social alienation many of these couples have experienced within their own community. I use the built environment as part of my art practice in dealing with these social relationships. Like community murals, the images act not as hostile provocations but as a means for people to come together and talk about important social issues within their communities. Moreover, the subject matter of same-gendered couples occupying these spaces where their presence in the past has been hidden becomes all the more compelling.