Laurel Nakadate: Strangers and Relations

September 5, 2015 – January 24, 2016
Anna K. Meredith Gallery

Laurel Nakadate: Strangers and Relations, focuses on an unfolding body of work by the acclaimed photographer, filmmaker and video artist. Starting with a series called “Star Portraits” in 2011, Nakadate began to photograph strangers, inviting friends of friends, Facebook “friends,” and curious members of the online community, to meet her at night. This first encounter was captured using simple techniques including long exposures, available starlight, moonlight, and a single handheld flashlight.

The series soon evolved as the artist began choosing her subjects via genetic research instead of social connection. Using her genetic code as a source material and the Internet DNA testing site 23andme, Nakadate was able to identify distant living relatives. They were invited to meet her in a rural location, wearing and bringing with them whatever items they wished. The results are haunting images of distinct individuals, spotlighted against a dark, almost dreamlike landscape. The series pushes the notion of social networking into the realm of the scientific by exploring genetically-based patterns of connection and community, while also presenting images of varied and intriguing subjects.

Does this seemingly random selection of people, of disparate age, race, and social background, constitute a family? Do they represent a unique, scientifically-advanced self-portrait of the artist herself? Nakadate’s series raises any number of questions regarding how we define both ourselves and others.

Laurel Nakadate: Strangers and Relations is organized by Associate Curator Laura Burkhalter.

Nakadate sponsor block


entirely unexpected