Kristianne Koch

At The Edge
Ten years ago, I took the journey of a life time. It was a month long, 3200 mile passage across the Pacific Ocean-across the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone and across the equator. I learned a lot on that trip--it gave me a new sense of awareness and made me realize that life doesn’t stop at the shoreline, that the unthethered, liquid life has a power and a mystery that is incredibly profound.
I learned that the sea never stops. The sea never sleeps. There is no silence, no rest and no calm on a sailboat at sea. Peace and quiet have to come from within. You exist each day and night at your own edge of the world where boat, sea and sky meet. As I look out to sea from the edge of land, I long to get back to the open ocean to continue this deep enlightenment.
I spend as much time in the ocean as I possibly can: swimming, surfing, photographing-yet I am still just at the edge. The open ocean is a special place that not many have experienced. It is difficult to explain the draw that this haunting, spiritual and challenging place has on a landlocked sailor. I want my images to express the beauty and mystery that draws me to this elusive and remote area of the world.

Artist Bio:
[Log of the Yacht S/V Pelican 
5/27/00 17:00:00
9o 05.630’S 138o 08.331’W 
Course 211-- 2932 nautical miles 
Day 25-at sea]

After receiving my BFA in photography from CSULB, I met my husband and we set out on a life changing adventure together. We sailed from San Diego, CA to French Polynesia and then to Hawaii. The first leg of our two year trip was 3100 nautical miles at sea with no sight of land for 27 days. The passage was lonely, exhausting, hallucinatory yet invigorating. No communication with the outside world forced me to acquire a deep sense of faith and secured my penchant for freedom. I began to understand what life was about: how fragile yet how capable we are.

Then on the passage from Nuku Hiva to Oahu, I read House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and came to the realization that my next great accomplishment was to become a mother. I still live in a California surf town and work as a commercial and fine art photographer. When I’m not behind the lens, I am raising my two children and planning the next great adventure with my family, which will surely not be on land.

Artist Statement:
I make photographs to perpetuate my memories, to give me the courage to let go and to help me share my awe of the natural world with others. I am an environmentalist, a romanticist and a minimalist and my work spotlights issues of holding on/letting go and vulnerability/perseverance.
I often wonder if I have a split personality because I try to control every detail in my images yet I am perpetu- ally drawn to the impreciseness and uncertainty of slow shutter speeds, alternative processes, instant film and underwater photography. I shoot with a Yashika Mat 124G, an Omega View 4x5, a Polaroid 240 Land Camera, a Nikon D4 and a D700 with an SPL Waterhousing. 

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

I grew up in a famous surf town at the northern edge of san diego county.  I had a joyous childhood with lots of travel, beach days, sailing and family time.

Who or what are influential in your work?

I am influenced by the ocean, sailing and surfing. Artists who influence my current body of work are Wayne Levin, Maria Louisa Morando and Ansel Adams.

What is one of your favorite sayings, quotes or piece of advice?
"I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth. A nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea." 
-Bernard Moitessier (a renowned French yachtsman and author of books about his voyages and sailing.)

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