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Tarrah Krajnak: SISMOS and Tabitha Soren: Fantasy Life

  • Silver Eye Center for Photography 4808 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA, 15224 United States (map)

DECEMBER 1, 2017 - FEBRUARY 17, 2018


1979 was a time of seismic changes in Peru’s capital, a transitional period between the military dictatorship of the 70s, and the onset of the Shining Path’s guerilla war in 1980. The city’s population swelled and was transformed by a massive influx of rural migrants from the highlands and eastern jungles; and artist Tarrah Krajnak’s birth mother was among them--one of many young women uprooted during that tectonic demographic shift. That’s almost all Krajnak knew about her mother. Like her peers, she was vulnerable in a city that was a violent, dangerous place. 1979 was a year that created orphans.

In SISMOS, Krajnak sets out not to recover some stable, “authentic” identity hidden by the circumstances of her birth and adoption, but rather to pull together archival materials, found photographs, untold narratives, and images in an effort to patch together, reclaim, and invent something like a psychic history of that year, and locate herself within it.


Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru in 1979. She received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame. She currently lives and works in Claremont, CA. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at: Art13 London, Art Basel Miami, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Center for Photography Woodstock, San Francisco Camerawork, Newspace Center for Photography, Columbus Museum of Art, The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, and Metropcs Gallery LA among others. She received grants from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Vermont Council for the Arts, The Vermont Community Foundation, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Her work has appeared in both print and online magazines including the L.A Review of Books, Nueva Luz, and Camerwork. Krajnak is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at Pitzer College. She taught previously at Cornell University and the University of Vermont. 


In 2002, Tabitha Soren first began photographing a group of minor league draft picks for the Oakland A’s―young men coming into the major league farm system straight from high school or college. Since then, she has followed the players through their baseball lives, an alternate reality of long bus rides, on-field injuries, friendships and marriages entered and exited, constant motion, and very hard work, often for very little return. Some of the subjects, like Nick Swisher and Joe Blanton, have gone on to become well-known, respected players at the highest level of the game. Some left baseball to pursue other lines of work, such as selling insurance and coal mining. Others have struggled with poverty and even homelessness.

Fifteen years after that first shoot, Fantasy Life portrays a selection of these stories, gathering together a richly textured series of photographs taken on the field and behind the scenes at games. These images evoke the enduring spirit of this quintessential American fantasy of making it in the major leagues.


Tabitha Soren left a career in television in 1999 to start another as a photographer. Her art visualizes psychological states; the internal weather that storms through each of us. Her work is included in the public collections of the Oakland Museum of Art, Transformer Station, Pier 24 Photography, New Orleans Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Her work has been featured in Dear Dave, McSweeney’s, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN The Magazine.

Image credits: Tarrah Krajnak, Grau, 2014. Courtesy of the artist. Tabitha Soren, Oz, Oakland Stadium, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.