Kobi Walsh (b. 1995) is a Brooklyn-based photographer whose work focuses on highlighting the subjectivity of our perspective.
He captures intricate impressionistic fragments of light and time in order to parallel the fragile nature of our individual reality. Not relying on digital manipulation, Kobi’s work explores themes of authenticity and the transience of the present moment. Kobi received a B.S. in Cognitive and Brain Sciences from Tufts University, incorporating an understanding of the neurological foundations of perception to play with the expectations of visual observation.
Kobi’s work has been exhibited internationally with upcoming exhibitions in Italy, France, at The Other Art Fair Brooklyn in New York, as well as at The Other Art Fair in Chicago. He has won 33 awards for his photography from organizations such as PX3 Prix de La Photographie Paris, the International Photography Awards, Moscow International Foto Awards, and Photographers Forum. Kobi’s work has been published 11 times in international publications such as Inside Artists UK and Art Reveal Magazine.
For me, all subjects exist as fluid, their surfaces ever-changing by way of variations in light, time, and perspective. Through my photography, created entirely without digital manipulation, I aim to highlight the unique combinations of these factors that give life and soul to the surrounding atmosphere and to the present moment. At the core of my work I hope to promote a recognition of the differences in our subjective realities as a new framework for understanding the foundations of empathy.
Beginning with the empirical and analytical observation of light, my pieces remove visual cues of depth, attempting to disassociate the outward identity of the subject. My work instead focuses on the unseen subject: a momentary feeling produced by changes in light or time.
While appearing at first glance abstract, my works are meant in fact to be representational, but to represent a reality beyond immediate impressions; to create rather a fuller, and more authentic, visual experience of a subject. That experience transcends the visual and therefore requires an approach that, while remaining representational and unmanipulated, through its alternative appearance challenges the viewer to move beyond socially constructed meanings of subject.
My work, then, targets the inherently subjective nature of our perspective as a means of exploring the evolution of individual realities. My photographs capture the delicate fragments of light and time that define distinct moments of my own authentic experience. I draw inspiration in part from the impressionist movement – specifically from Monet and the plein air painting technique, spontaneous renderings of nature as an amalgam of light, and from the idea of the enveloppe, the unifying atmospheric light encompassing all things.
How long have you been an artist and how did you get started?
Kobi: I have been practicing photography for around 13 years or so now, but my path to becoming an artist was not quite so straightforward. For the majority of my life I had thought of my artistic practice as a hobby, something that I loved endlessly, but because of a deep-seated unconscious fear of failure and losing that which I loved the most, I never fully committed to taking on my practice full time. I found myself brushing off my true passion as an impractical pipe dream and succumbing to an overwhelming sense of self-imposed expectations about what I “should” be doing with myself. After graduating from university and starting two companies, I finally realized that I wasn’t being truly honest with myself. I was stifling my inner authentic voice, simply delaying the process of looking inward, and found that, although I had been doing everything that I believed I “should” be doing, I wasn’t happy. This realization shattered my entire perception of myself and made me question every decision I had made up until that point. I felt lost, scared, hopeless, but after giving myself space and time to internalize these difficult questions I finally realized that I could only hide from the truth for so long. Art isn’t a choice. Art is a constant nagging at your soul, a feeling that nothing else you ever do will make sense without it. So I gave in and here we are today.
All your artworks were created entirely without digital manipulation, may I ask what equipment and techniques do you use?
Kobi: Much of my artistic study focuses on authenticity within a visual image, how natural factors such as light and time play a role in influencing the colors and emotions of a composition. In order to capture these subtle nuances, I employ a range of commonplace materials that allow me to organically manipulate an image without digital intervention.
What is your creative process like?
Kobi: My creative process begins with an analytical, meditative method of observation that looks to dissociate the outward identity of a subject, instead of focusing on the unseen feeling of a composition. This method of “unseeing” allows me to look beyond an object and instead create a fuller, more authentic visual experience of a subject. Initially disconnecting myself from the identity of an object allows me to better focus on the unseen subject, momentary feelings created by changes in light or time. Although my work appears at first glance abstract, it is actually meant to be representational, but to represent a reality beyond immediate impressions.
What is the message you are trying to give with your art?
Kobi: My work aims to highlight the brief overlooked moments that define our subjective perspective as a means for paralleling the foundations of empathy. Our individual realities are shaped by a unique combination of experiences that define our beliefs, fears, desires, and needs, which in turn dictates our understanding of the world. I hope to draw attention to the micro-scale of our human experience that is defined in each moment by constantly changing unique fragments of light and time.
What is a little-known fact you would like to share?
Kobi: I have a genetic predisposition that makes cilantro taste like soap.
How does creating art make you feel?
Kobi: Creating art truly feeds my soul more than anything else. It makes me feel whole, attuned to the individual differences that define my own reality. Creating art is my way of explaining and rationalizing my own place in the world, healing, and learning to love and accept all aspects of my being. Art is a way for me to explore my own humanity, recognizing my own individuality and appreciating the distinct fleeting moments of life that so often go unrecognized.
What does your art aim to say to your audience?
Kobi: We are all concurrently living in altering realities that are shaped by a unique combination of our individual experiences. Our views of the world are molded by our history and the process of healing negative or unhealthy views comes from a recognition of what it was in our past that created those ideas. We must recognize that while our perspectives may differ, it does not mean that we cannot reach a place of mutual love and acceptance by understanding the history of our ideology.
How do you get ideas for each piece of art?
Kobi: Much of my work was inspired by the impressionist movement, specifically the idea of defining a subject by the unique combination of atmospheric light and time that creates the feeling surrounding a subject. My work begins through observation, observing commonplace subjects that would otherwise go unnoticed, but through distinct elements of light and time create a wholly different feeling of the subject.
How has your art evolved over the years?
Kobi: My art has evolved through the years from focusing on individual split-second moments, to exploring the depth of color with stacked exposure images and capturing landscapes with an emphasis on unique lighting, progressing to a fascination with abstract forms and natural shapes, then transitioning into a draw towards abstract, yet representational works defined by my own momentary experience of a subject. My photographic work has begun to evolve into more sculptural pieces that translate these unique fragmentary experiences of a subject into physical objects that allow the viewer to create these visual experiences for themselves. Throughout the evolution of my artistic practice, my fascination with light, time, and organic form has stayed constant and has evolved into my current vision.
Any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about?
Kobi: On October 22nd I will be participating in Art for Life Chicago, a juried virtual exhibition and digital auction to raise money for the fight against HIV/AIDS, then in 2021 I was selected to exhibit at both The Other Art Fair Brooklyn and The Other Art Fair Chicago, followed by Superfine Art Fair in Seattle later in the year, with hopefully more to come!
To learn more about Kobi and his art, please check: