Capturing Identities with Photographer David Kasnic.
Words: Leen Abu Aisheh
When does a photograph become something more than just photography? Chicago-based photographer David Kasnic answers this question with the authentic images he captures which reveal stories of individuals in a genuine way that depicts realities rather than forced assertions.
Kasnic’s fondness for photography, specifically portraiture, started in high school and this has been his on-going pleasure since then. His archive consists of portraits of the several eccentricities of characters he has come across in his life.
Before snapping his images, Kasnic’s work orbits around spending time with the individuals he encounters in order to get to know them better. He has previously demonstrated this approach by engaging in church practices and questioning his subject for the way they feel most comfortable to be photographed in. The result of his work inaugurates as an association between him and his sitters.
In 2016, the creative was assigned by a French newspaper to record the social divisions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was brought to a small church there and met a group of remarkable people. After his commission was over, he was called again to continue photographing outside of the boundaries of the commission. His latest book, Alpha and Omega, portrays this provincial community church and its occupants, reflecting the arresting depictions of the local neighbourhood he had captured.
Alpha and Omega is filled with genuine photographs of the locals; whether it be a mother with her son, an image of an elderly woman or a tattooed lad. In his book a hand is transformed into a signal where each line is there to detail a part of the subject’s life. Moreover, all the clothing, gestures, and poses are kept under the subject matter’s control and this is what adds originality to his images. Kasnic is there to not only document but to share a moment of his focus’ life and reality, whilst choosing to keep specific items in the background such as a vintage clock to underpin certain ideas.
Each person he shoots carries a representation of himself along and Kasnic runs along this particular notion. He works around communicating and understanding his subject to allow honest depictions of the personalities he captures.