Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru in 1979. She is currently based in Los Angeles. Krajnak was awarded the Jury Prize of the Louis Roederer Discovery Award at Les Rencontres d'Arles in June 2021 and most recently the 2021 Hariban Award Grand Prize, Kyoto, Japan. She is also a recipient of the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Her first monograph of the project El Jardín De Senderos Que Se Bifurcan was published with DAIS books in May 2021.
“Tarrah Krajnak’s work makes clear reference to the history of photography, on the one hand, and to the artist’s identity as a Latin-American woman, on the other. A sequel to her first critical homage to Ansel Adams, her latest series Master Rituals II: Weston‘s Nudes is dedicated to another North American “master”, Edward Weston. Krajnak here re-enacts the famous Nudes (shot starting in 1927, and published as a unified work in 1977). She takes the place of models Bertha Wardell and Charis Wilson, reproducing their poses—but also depicts herself as author of the photographs, a remote shutter release in hand. Restoring to the picture what Weston left outside the frame–portions of the model’s body and in particular, her face, whose obliteration tends to make us forget the identity of the two women and participation in the creative process– or emphasizing Weston’s framing choices—what he excluded—using simple wooden panels, Krajnak replays a significant chapter in the history of photography while re-focusing on the role of the female model. Further, she challenges the female stereotypes created and propagated by photography: a white ideal, shaped by male tutelary figures. Through this performative and photographic act, Krajnak affirms her Latin-American identity and her body of color. She creates through her presence and the gesture of image reconstruction a dialogue with her predecessor, Weston, as well as with her contemporary viewers.“ (Sonia Voss, Curatorial Statement for the Les Rencontres Arles Discovery Award Exhibition)
Krajnak is an Associate Professor of Art at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA where she is also the Director of The Munroe Center for Social Inquiry. She held teaching positions at the University of Vermont, Cornell University, and Notre Dame. Residencies include Center for Photography Woodstock (2009), Bemis (2011), and most recently Aurora Photo Center (2021), and Light Work (2021). She is also the producer and host of the podcast series "The Careful Photograph" highlighting BIPOC voices in contemporary photography.
Krajnak has exhibited widely at Honor Fraser Gallery, Houston Center for Photography, SUR Biennial Los Angeles, Filter Photo Chicago, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Center for Photography Woodstock, SF Camerawork, Philadelphia Photographic Arts Center, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Belfast Photography Festival, Unseen Amsterdam, and Les Rencontres d'Arles. She received grants from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Vermont Community Foundation, and the Harpo Foundation.