|Message from Elena Comens
Born and raised in New York, I began painting at the age of seven. People were always the main focus of my artistic endeavors. My art education began at The Art Student's League and continued with The School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design, In New York City. I exhibited and received many awards as a painter. Many of my works are in private collections, notably the late Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir. My interest in photography was initiated after a photographer visited my art exhibition and encouraged me to see my world through a viewfinder. It was then that I began my studies at The New School in New York City. I went on to study documentary photography under the tutelage of Mary Ellen Mark at the Santa Fe Workshop in New Mexico. The major emphasis of my photographs is in the field of documentary photography.
The scope of my work covers elements of poverty or wealth, social change, environmental locations, age relationships and how people communicate within their cultures. The nonverbal language of photo-realism is the language that is most understood inter-culturally and cross culturally. Some have used the phrase visual anthropology to describe my work. Documenting people and places along my journey provided me with the opportunity to embrace the relationship of humanity within our environment. Learning to observe visually, to see culture in all of its complex detail, can be a challenge. I use my camera as a mobile canvas. The camera becomes an extension of my senses. With it I can record an image with a memory. My primary focus is to capture the essence of a people within their cultural environment. This endeavor is even more rewarding when I can share my vision with others.
I have exhibited throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Israel.
Some reviews and quotes.....
"Elena Comens' studio manipulated pieces result in intentionally jarring work." Phyllis Braff, The New York Times
"Powerful images capture the mood and spirit of a particular time and place. Conscious artistry in black and white, lyrical and haunting. A fully realized exhibition." Elizabeth Wix, N.Y. Newsday
"Ms. Comens has captured the handsome faces of Guatemala’s Mayan people. The haunting composition has rich subject matter and depth; it shows a painter’s sensibility." Denise Mourges, The New York Times
"Work of Elena Comens spans three continents and wide view of the human condition. The result is a body of work, which contains profound and haunting images." The Northport Journal
"Elena possesses that rare ability to make extraordinary images out of ordinary situations. She approaches her subject with the eyes of an artist and the mind of a documentarian and the combination, I believe, leads to her extraordinary work. Her work consistently shows the involvement, creativity and intelligence that comes from an artistic dedication, understanding and maturity."
Susan Dooley, Professor of Photojournalism, Long Island University
"Once again, City Link canvasses South Florida for the people who have set their inner artists free. One such artist, Elena Comens with her dignified, life affirming black-and-white photographs of people in Russia, Guatemala and Israel, more talent from the following pages than millionares from the deck of the Titanic."
" Best of the Gallery Exhibition" Jake Cline, City Link, Ft.Lauderdale, FL
Review of Schacknow Museum "The magnificent Eleven": "Schacknow's one real find here is the photographer Elena Comens. The Comens photos are powerful in their stark directness. Such images provide an atmospheric commentary on unstable societies in flux. Comens' work deserves the main gallery all to itself."
New Times Broward-Palm Beach, Michael Owens