Cecilia Borgenstam

Artist’s Website

Cecilia Borgenstam is a Swedish-born artist and educator based in San Francisco. Her work has been exhibited in shows nationwide and internationally. In 2019 she was a Critical Mass 2019 Top 200 Finalist and was also selected for the REVIEW Santa Fe 100 Photographers. She was awarded a silver medal at the San Francisco Bay International Photography Competition (2019). Her latest body of work, Here/Not Here, is exploring the disconnect between materialism and physical vulnerability in transient camps in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and has received honorable mentions at the 12th Pollux Awards (2019) and the 14th Julia Margaret Cameron Award (2019) in the categories for documentary reportage and documentary photography. It was also awarded 2nd place in the 2018 International Photography Exhibition at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel (CA).

She has worked as a book builder for Michael Light and as a studio manager for Richard Misrach.

Artist’s Statement

The definition of “transience”, a word used to replace the term “homeless”, is “short-lived” or “a state of briefness”, but in the context of displacement, the state of transience can be anything but brief. In Here/Not Here, I photograph objects in abandoned camps in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park but the visual topography depicted is sadly not isolated to a specific geographical point.

Ordinary day to day objects are left to interact with the natural elements of the park, where the cold pacific coast fog and strong winds make their own mark on the rugged terrain. The material impermanence of these found, dystopian still-lives, morphing over time with the landscape, speak of their previous owners’ long-term exposure, vulnerability, and relentless determination. These imprints of human interactions with discarded objects demand that we consider reinforced invisibility. They are metaphors for the physical and tangible existence of those living behind the definition of “transience.”

A percentage of image sales are donated by the artist to the Larkin Street youth Services in San Francisco.