Thrills & Chills Artist Statement
Amusement park rides terrify me, which is why I began photographing them. I am fascinated by what compels people to surrender themselves to these mechanical beasts. The rides seem to challenge the very limitations of being human. We can’t fly; yet these vertigo-inducing machines allow us to soar through the open air. The experience combines elation with fear; thrills with chills.
These images explore the fantastic and sinister place these rides hold in my imagination. With some of these images, I suspend disbelief and embrace the underlying fantasies of these rides. With other images, I examine the tensions that exist between fantasy and reality. I am interested in exploring the range of emotions—from anger to shock to exultation—that people exhibit in pursuit of the amusement these rides are supposed to provide.
I create these images with a Holga camera to provide them with a vernacular feel and a sense of immediacy. The camera’s plastic lens distorts the scale of these rides, particularly when they are photographed against an open sky. I also find working with such an imprecise and flawed camera to be a frightening and liberating experience, akin to being on a roller coaster.