her story, February 19th - March 3rd, 2016
“... one must see many cities, men and things. One must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the small flowers open in the morning. One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings which one had long seen coming; to days of childhood that are still unexplained, to parents that one had to hurt when they brought one some joy and one did not grasp it (…); to childhood illness that so strangely began with a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars-and it is not enough if one may think all of this. One must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the others, of the screams of women in labor, and of light, white, sleeping women in childbed, closing again. But one must also have been beside the dying, one must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the fitful noises. And still it is not enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many, and one must have the great patience to wait until they come again...”
- Rainer Maria Rilke
Birthe Piontek is a fine art photographer based in Vancouver BC, Canada. Originally from Germany, she moved to Canada in 2005 after receiving her MFA from the University of Essen in Communication Design and Photography.
Birthe describes her photography as an exploration of the individual and is interested in the concept of Self. Her main focus is portrait photography but she also utilizes other art forms like installation and sculpture to investigate the essence of portraiture and to what degree identity can be visualized. Her latest work looks into her mother's and grandmother's loss of memory due to Dementia and Alzheimer's disease and examines the relationship between memory and identity.