Liese Ricketts' Curious Encounters

by David J. Carol

Liese Ricketts

"Ron in Sicily"

April 16, 2013

During my 30-plus years in photography, I have developed some rules I try to live by. The most important of which is, “Take your work seriously, but not yourself.” Documentary photographer Liese Ricketts totally gets this!  

I’ve seen Ricketts’ more serious documentary and fine-art images but I chose this column to present some of her “playful” work because, as evidenced in the work shown, it is clear that she has fun with these pieces yet still respects the process and takes the making of these joyous creations seriously.

Ricketts explains, “In winter, street work is not my favorite thing to do so instead I settle into my studio and grab photo ephemera and begin to play.” Her series, “Curious Instants 084” (two images from it are shown here), evolved in this way.

"Marlon in Istanbul"

"Ron in Sicily"

“I had a few boxes of expired Polaroid 084 film in the studio and, without exposing it, I peeled one apart,” Ricketts explains. “The Polaroid images were always pretty bad, but the attendant ephemera is spectacular, even the caustic jelly. With images I had of places I have been in my real life, I brought in characters to accompany me: imaginary playmates. I created the images digitally, printed them on a similar paper that Polaroid used, made a negative and positive, and collaged them into place. Then I scanned and printed the images as large pieces. Voila!” Find more of Ricketts’ work at

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