Lauren Semivan


Lauren Semivan (b. 1981) was born in Detroit, Michigan.  She received a BA in studio art from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and an MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art.  Her work has been exhibited at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, Blue Sky Gallery, Silver Eye Center for Photography, The Griffin Museum of Photography, and the Hunterdon Art Museum among others.

Her work was recently published in Essay’d III: 30 Detroit Artists(Wayne State University Press, 2019), Harper’smagazine, and Series of Dreams (Skeleton Key Press, 2018).  Reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, Interview Magazine, The Village Voice,and Photographmagazine.  Semivan’s work is part of permanent collections at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, The Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University, and The Elton John Photography Collection.  She is represented by Benrubi Gallery in New York, and David Klein Gallery in Detroit, Michigan.


The camera exists as a tool for investigation of the limits of our vision and comprehension, or, as László Moholy-Nagy has said, to offer us “eyes outside our bodies.”  Artists, like physicists, are compelled to study forces running counter to the visible.

Through the process of photography, I continuously question the world and my own experiences. I engage a large-format view camera as a tool for both precision and abstraction. These images are the result of an investigation into the invisible: an identification and interrogation of potential signals.

My ongoing body of work has evolved through intense contemplative study and manipulation of a hand-built, sculptural environment. Within this constructed space, photographs transcend consensus reality, blurring boundaries between real and fictitious worlds. Compositions evolve, are photographed, and then devolve into the next image. Materials and objects photographed are discarded, secondary to the photograph itself. Images are printed in silver gelatin, in dialog with an established continuum.

In the process of making photographs, I am waiting for that invisible thing, which is at once unseen and everywhere. I consider photography to be both a tool for escape, and an instrument for self-knowledge: a door into the dark.