Brigitte Carnochan

Brigitte Carnochan’s photographs are represented nationally and collected globally. She has had solo exhibitions around the world. In 2016 she will have a solo show at Verve Gallery in Santa Fe and a 20-Year retrospective at Themes + Projects, Modernbook in San Francisco. In addition to the publication of three monographs (Bella Figura 2006, Shining Path 2006, Floating World 2012), Imagining Then: A Family Story, 1941-47, was published by CPA to accompany her 2012 exhibition. In November 2014, at Paris Photo, the German publisher, Edition Galerie Vevais, launched a monograph of her images (selected by Alexander Scholz and Steven Brown). She has taught workshops and classes through the Extension Program at UC Santa Cruz and, for the last ten years, through Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. She is on the Advisory Council of CPA as well as Center, in Santa Fe.

Artist’s Statement


Some years ago I found a shoebox full of love letters dated 1929-32 from George Daniels, a bank official for the Royal Bank of Canada in New York City, to Edna Josephine MacInnis, a nursing student at Columbus Hospital.

The letters, all from George, trace the story of two young people introduced by mutual friends. They begin seeing each other for walks, they go bowling, they have dinner with friends. They fall in love. They have doubts. They write each other at least once every day. Before he goes on vacation she asks him to destroy her letters so his roommates won’t read them (he does). She keeps all his letters, which talk of his love for her, his inexperience and uncertainty in terms of “technique” (kissing), their deepening love for each other and his desire to marry her despite feeling he is too poor, telling her that “I continually doubt that I can make you happy.” On the October day after the stock market crashes, he apologizes for not seeing her—“between this stock market slump and boom and locking up the vault, I’ve been here every evening this week.” Two months later, after “the thrill of a kiss on Terrace Hill,” and a letter he signed, “xoxoxo with every expression of love ever thought of,” they elope.

In this series I use photos of my imagined Ednas to respond to excerpts from the letters that I believe she might have singled out. She was a modern woman. She smoked and wore make-up (which George worries about telling his mother), she loved to dance, she voiced her romantic expectations, she wanted a career. There is nothing momentous about their story—one of the reasons I found it so compelling.