Nate Lerner Nate Lerner



Sometimes it snows in April.

My work is about looking at things through a camera; it doesn't take an MFA to see that or to describe and justify it. I work toward what I hope to be a compelling and evocative mix of conceptual rigor, aesthetic beauty (sometimes this is called FORMALISM and that’s okay), and deep humanity.

All photography is about longing. That most bittersweet of sentiments is baked into the medium. Welcome to Flavortown. (We retain the prerogative to have a little fun.) 

Although Barthes declared that “the photograph is literally an emanation of the referent,” he also acknowledged that, like the rays of light from a distant star that reach us only after the star has ceased to exist, the photograph can only attest to the existence of the object; the photographic declaration, “that has been,” hovers between presence and absence, now and then. Part of what is traumatic about photography is that it is an indexical trace of someone or something that is no more, or is no longer the same. We are dealing, then, not with presence but with past presence, which is to say, the hollowed out presence of an absence.

(i.e., It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap.)

Hold on to your butts! It is dissolving and removing. Letting the days go by.

Or, put differently, love is a symptom of time.


The conscientious artist is caught between two oppositional poles – the creative urge (a will to power), and self-abnegation. Try to manage. Perchance to dream.

I don’t wish to “interrogate” anything and rather wish to let the material be the material – this is FREEDOM. (Nevertheless, it can’t help but be an index of the Anthropocene and thus interrogate the poetics of late capitalism ugh I know, I’m sorry. Starved in metropolis, hooked on necropolis, slamdance the cosmopolis.) I try to manage by seeking out points where the sublime and the mundane intersect. It’s always sooooo cheesy and it will be ever thus.

That said, content must be (at minimum) at least as important as subject. Otherwise why visual art? Even better when the content is (becomes) the subject – that’s nice. Viewers will overlay external meanings, generated out of their own subjectivities, regardless. This is DYNAMIC.

Most art is POINTLESS – that’s part of what makes it art. But a POINT OF VIEW helps.

It’s alright to cry. And to laugh, and to scream. Let an image be silent. (In restless dreams I walked alone.) The lone and level sands stretch far away. They’ll pass you by, glory days.

(I fucking hate Bruce Springsteen but you use what works.) 


Here's to shutting up. 

but also N.B. 
My work is not for collectors (speculators, vampires).
My work is rarely for sale and cheap when it is (because capitalism = death). 
My work is not for fairs (*shudder*).
My work is not for the attention economy (looks like nothing on yer phone).
My work is for people (because they are weird and sad and occasionally OVERWHELMINGLY beautiful just like the world).