The Critics Are Buzzing About Amy Elkins “Black Is The Day, Black Is The Night”


Image: AMY ELKINS (American, born 1979), from the “Black is the Day, Black is the Night” Project

In “Black is the Day, Black is the Night”, a project that spanned seven years from 2009-2016, Amy Elkins explores how the notion of passing time can affect an individual’s psychology, sense of self, and perception of reality.

What the Critics are saying about Amy Elkins:

“As viewers, we are invited to puzzle over an assortment of clues, including reenactments, exhibits submitted for our considerations, partial evidence, and statements both leading and misleading. The work is elegiac and provocative, asking the viewer to engage above and beyond a simple, cursory viewing of these images.” – Leslie A. Martin, Aperture Foundation

“The degree of isolation her subjects experience is extreme. Of the prisoners that she has written to over the past several years, most have spent over a decade in a solitary 6 x 9 cell. Letters speak of a life where the memories of loss are equaled only by the seemingly endless time before them, unless their sentence is carried out. Elkins lost one of her pen pals in 2009 and another in 2012, whose final appeal was denied by the Supreme Court mere months before his execution. Much like the author Truman Capote’s complex experience in losing the primary source of his artwork when Perry Smith was executed while writing In Cold Blood, Elkins likely cannot help but be affected by the unique dynamic of these relationships to her subjects. Her work seems to reflect her own loss in the mix of theirs.” – Bill Sullivan, American photographer and painter

“Photographer Amy Elkins offers an unflinching contemplation of capital punishment and identity in a culture of mass incarceration.” – Mass Appeal
“Elkins ponders the psychological impact incarceration has on inmates, using blurry and pixelated photos to imagine how life on the inside shapes and distorts an inmates’ perception of reality and awareness.– WIRED Magazine
“Rather than a documentary angle, Elkins has chosen artifacts and scenes that reveal both the preponderance of time on death row (enough time to become a poet, learn calligraphy, read voraciously) and it’s corrosive qualities as it ineffably moves these prisoners toward the end. It’s a tough project, but one that reveals Elkins’ profound sensitivity to the shades of gray in this potentially black-and-white issue.” – Arts and Culture, TX
“Elkins’ imagery of the darkness in the lives and deaths of these men may be morose, but optimism is intrinsic to her determination to see the world from their perspective.” – Artillery Magazine

Check out her Exclusive Online Exhibition on ARTSY for more more images and information on this award-winning Series of works at:





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