Christina Brunk is a professional photographer, artist, and instructor. She has a BA from San Jose State University in Art: Studio Practice with an emphasis in photography. She is the owner of Half Past Eleven Studios and an instructor at Kings Cultural Center. This is her first major exhibition.
Brunk specializes in images that provoke contemplation about specific taboo subjects that she has experienced personally. Her photography uses cropped in photographs utilizing a shallow depth of field. This perspective makes the subject more intimate and personal. It puts the viewer in the immediate space with the subject. A number of prints are large, making the subject more imposing and unsettling. The corners of the prints often feature a subtle vignette to draw the viewer in and the overall composition is simple, with minimal distraction. Any complexity that might exist is downplayed by repetition of color or a harrow color palette.
Brunk’s exhibition, Unsung Lullabies, features images that confront viewer assumptions. The images and installation utilize syringes, bloody tampons, medication, medical office paraphernalia, nursery items, and texts. These symbols serve to give a glimpse into the very invasive world that infertility patients live through. Every part of the process is deliberate and controlled and those affected are often unable to direct the outcome of their journey. While these images can be jarring, they also elicit a reaction, which is important to spur the conversations that can relieve the burden of members of the infertility community.
Being diagnosed with infertility is a blow that rarely anticipated prior to failed attempts at trying to conceive. Most people assume a level of control when it comes to family planning, but when things don’t go as expected, doubt and worry set in. Treatments are invasive and can include injections, pills, blood tests, specimen collection, genetic testing, vaginal ultrasounds, scheduled intercourse, insemination and surgical intervention. These procedures often are required with every attempt at a pregnancy, that take a great toll on relationship, esteem, and financial resources. The romantic notion of love-making and the excitement of having a baby are replaced with anxiety, looming fear, and an oppressive feeling of failure. Often the month begins with hope and ends in heart break.
Brunk finds it important to bring these topics out of the dark. Many people suffer in silence with these issues and those that speak out are confronted with awkward confusion, blame, or judgement. This project offers a safe place to be introspective and invites others dealing with these issues to use the exhibit as an opportunity to connect to their feelings and experiences. She also hopes that these works will spur conversations built on empathy and inclusiveness.