Karolina Karlic is a Los Angeles based photographer. Born in Wroclaw Poland, her family immigrated to Detroit in search of the American dream in 1986. Karlic’s work explores American culture from the complicated perspective of an immigrant growing up in urban Detroit. Her father fled communist Poland to find work in the American auto industry. Karlic watched her father’s hopes for his family crumble alongside the stock of Ford, General Motors, and Daimler Chrysler’s North American operations. As a non-native participant in American society, her work explores the culture of people’s desires and regrets. Karlic holds a BFA in Photography from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has been published in the Water Stone Review, was a participant in Center 2007 (formerly known as Review Santa Fe) and most recently received the MN State Arts Board Initiative Grant, 2008. Her series, The Dee, Close to Home, and Dear Diary have been exhibited nationally at galleries including Franklin Art Works, Jen Bekman Gallery NYC, Intermedia Arts, Flanders Gallery, Wall Space-Seattle, and Juxtaposition Arts.
Do you get back to the Ukraine often or was this project completed in one lump of time?
“Close to Home” is a project that I shot during a month long visit to the Ukraine. I had been invited to assist Katherine Turczan ( represented by Yossi Millo) on her trip to her parents homeland. She has been photographing the Ukraine for probably over 14 years. Under the circumstances, I made images that reminded me of being home in Poland’.
What camera are you using?
‘I use a large format camera. All my work is done with a 4×5, scanned and then digitally output’.
When going back to the Ukraine to shoot this series, were you looking for something specific?
‘During this time in the Ukraine, I kept thinking that my family and relatives, who were only four hours away but because I was assisting, I couldn’t make the trip to see them. It was one of those, “so close yet so far away” situations. That’s how the title “Close to Home” came about. I did focus mostly on light. I think it became a metaphor as I worked around someone else’s shooting time. The colors of Eastern Europe became very relevant in context to the countries existence following the Orange Revolution’.
Can you tell us about the photo of the little girl with the doll?
‘During our time spent traveling in Ukraine and photographing we stayed in numerous locations and cities. A visit to Chernobyl, Sevastopol, Kiev, Yalta, ect, influenced my views on how much the country was really able to change. There is a complete split of High to Low class. This photo of the young girl with her doll was taken in Yalta. Yalta, and the Crimea have been fought over many times because of its tremendous beauty. The first part of that day I spent most of my time attracting men that I presume, were vacationing Russian mafia men. As we went out to shoot later in the day, I heard a scream and a cry. I turned around, walked up a village street and there this young girl was being beaten up by her brothers and other school boys who had teased her by stealing her doll. It just shows that a quick turn from the wealthy, lies poverty around the corner’.
Any new projects on the horizon that you can speak of?
‘Yes. I’m currently working and living in Los Angeles. I’ve always been involved with the auto industry as my father is an engineer in Detroit. What better place to attack that subject than Los Angeles’.