Someone Knows, 2006
Archival Pigment Print
60.96 x 76.2 cm (24 in x 30 in) Edition of 10
Copyright © 2006 Nadine Rovner



Nadine Rovner’s scenes of longing, anticipation and hope are formed rather than found by the artist. Rovner works in the tradition of the staged photograph, beginning with a feeling or idea, and creating a scene to portray it.  While often associated with contemporary artists, this approach to photography goes back to complex dramas that were made for the camera in the 19th century. Staged photography is also the foundation for most photographic commercial work, and it has long been a bridge between photography and cinema. Rovner draws from all these precedents, yet her images stand out for their subtlety and understatement. Rather than the harsh irony or hyperrealism that often characterize staged photography, Rovner’s images dwell in a hazy border between reality and memory, hinting at a hidden story, but revealing only fragments.

These spare dramas have little overt action, but they contain a palpable sense of tension, like the opening moments in a film, when many things are possible, or the closing sequence where much remains undetermined. Her richly textured environments and enigmatic characters deftly explore the terrain of early adulthood, evoking the uncertainty that accompanies growing up and having to make difficult choices. Her subjects seem conflicted about what to do with new-found freedom and responsibility—in essence, where to find home and security at this next stage of life. The solitude and sense of deliberation that come across in the pictures suggest that there is no easy road home.

–Nadine Rovner



Nadine Rovner (b.1982) was raised in New Jersey and holds a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been shown in exhibitions around the country; most recently it was included in Keystone 1, Pennsylvania’s first photography biennial, organized by the Silver Eye Center for Photography. Rovner has received a number of awards for her work, including The Print Center’s solo exhibition award in 2008. Also in 2008, she was included in the Humble Arts Foundation’s exhibition 31 Under 31: Young Women in Art Photography as well as their publication The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography.

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