Q&A: Karen Asher — No Cause for Concern


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? How about the classic: “life sucks then you die.” Just kidding but i don’t know… I mean I have really bad anxiety and get overwhelmed easily so I try to remember that we’ll all be dead sooner than later so none of this really matters anyway.. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? All the gross nationalistic politics out there is heartbreaking. Everything feels fucked up right about now. Are you aware of any conspiracies? I’ll leave that nonsense to Trump the chump and his supporters. What is it that interests you about photography? The strangeness. What is the worst thing about city life? Pollution, litter, traffic jams, running into people you want to avoid… fake small talk. What part of the planet would you like to explore?  Everywhere i’ve barely been anywhere. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Are you trying to scare me? If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Sophie Scholl. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Neuroscience. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? That summer I got followed and flashed all the time. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Cat cuddler, therapy dog handler.

Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. Maybe the first Diane Arbus or Nan Godin photo I saw. How often do you take other people’s advice? Never. I’m always getting in trouble. I’m like a bad kid. Describe a personal hell. Literally there’s like hundreds of possibilities in my head right now. Which living person do you most admire? My dad. Just kidding. he’s so gross I just wanna show him this so we can have a laugh. On what occasion do you lie? I’m a classic over sharer, and I couldn’t tell a lie to save my life. But i’m not mean. So maybe just a tiny inconsequential white lie to not be mean. What was the last crime you witnessed? Just petty theft and minor offences. What is the best way to educate yourself? Ummm school of hard knocks. Just go out and live. Talk to people. Meet people. All kinds of people. What is the next book you want to read? Men Explain Things To Me. Relevant. Ultimate camera? I dunno i’m not into tech & stuff. I wouldn’t know a good camera if it looked me in the face. Most used camera? Mamiya C330.

What object do you want? I live in a crappy apartment but it would be cool to have a pool. It would be so refreshing. What object do you need? Nothing. But I have a show coming up and can use some monies. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? I don’t even know how to explain it to myself. But maybe I would mention that hours could go by and you feel like such a loser cuz you haven’t been productive and you forget how to be human. And there’s naked stuff. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? HA no. I’m so lazy. Describe a cheap thrill. Mooning. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. The time my mom made me do a ballet dance for my grandfather as he was dying in the hospital. I didn’t want to do it but she paid me five dollars. I can remember vividly every moment of the ordeal. I was five years old, he was dying of lung cancer and smoking from his throat. The room was black except for my grandpa’s creepy face pulsing from the lighting. In my tutu costume, I did slow pirouettes to sad music as tears rolled down my face. Ok not a historic moment but my moment, and I would die to have that immortalised. Are impulses more important than consequences? Hope so. I’m a haphazard train wreck.

Karen Asher is an analog photo artist from Winnipeg, Canada, whose work explores her obsession with stress, absurdity and the human condition. She received her BFA Honours in photography from the University of Manitoba in 2009. Asher is the recipient of numerous grants and awards and is featured in Flash Forward 2010 – Emerging Photographers from Canada, United Kingdom and the United States as well as the recently published book Front Line: Interviews with International Contemporary Photo-Based Artists. She had her first solo exhibition in 2010 at Platform Centre and was written up in several publications including The National Post, Canadian Art, BlackFlash and Border Crossings Magazine. Asher recently exhibited work at Toronto’s Contact Photography Festival, the Gimli Film Festival, the Pingyao International Photography Festival in Beijing, Truck Contemporary Art in Calgary and Feature Art Fair in Toronto. She just completed a new body of work, The Full Catastrophe, that premiered at Ace Art Inc. in April.

To see more of Karen Asher’s work visit — karenasher.ca / Instagram.