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Photography (MA)

Allison Gretchko

Allison Gretchko (b.1995) is an American photographer and writer currently residing in London. She holds a B.S. in Sociology from Skidmore College and is currently pursuing a MFA in Photography at the Royal College of Art.

Previously, she worked as a commercial photographer for brands and companies such as The Hundreds, Fodor’s Travel, Wetaca, Closed Sessions, etc. and has appeared in numerous digital and print publications including The Fader and My Ism.

Woman in BW, contact sheet of self portraits with her face covered by blur or out of frame.

Allison’s practice is driven by investigations into the intimacies of hidden relationships and behaviors found in the everyday. Beginning with the act of observational documentary image-making, her work often culminates in collection and category-based conceptual series that showcase the secret intimacies in society. In the hopes of uncovering the universality of humanity, Allison examines the interaction between identity, place, objects, and relationships from both her own lived experience and the anonymity of strangers.

Working across film and digital photography, Allison’s practice encompasses a wide variety of photographic skillsets in order to best articulate her vision.

Slideshow video for throw projector display
Man looking at camera with his face lit by a window next to him. Black and white.
Woman in color looking away from the camera. Behind her is american flag and signages.
Man on Beach looking at camera confused
Stills from Projected Slideshow
Woman in Black and White looking over shoulder back to the camera with annoyed face and arms crossed.

Am I Defined By The House I Was Born In (2011-Present)

A series that spans over a decade of personal documentary work on 35mm film beginning when I was a teenager grappling with the typical coming of age struggles of personal identity while facing a nearly fatal viral infection. Photographing my parents began with the search to understand the rapidly changing world around me as I confronted my own mortality and later the prospect of theirs. As I healed, the project continued to examine the parent-child relationship and its ever evolving phases of care, duty, and expectations of understanding and closeness. The photographs seek to convey the turbulence and intimacy of familial relations as I exist both as an outsider and insider to their world. Over the past year, I have begun to dissect the archive of this ongoing project for the first time and the show’s slideshow projection is the initial iteration of analyzing the emotions, gestures, and gaze the camera has captured as the mediator in the complex relationship between my parents and I.

Black and white front of woman's body looking straight down from eye level
Black and white side of womans body taken from eye level
Black and white right side of womans body taken from eye level

Venus Figurine

Taking inspiration from how Upper Paleolithic Venus Sculptures were crafted, this self-portrait series examines the natural distortion of the female figure when examined from one's own eye level. A study of a perspective only beheld by the photographer's own eyes.

Bags packed. Squashed on my lap. Stuck at my feet. Life’s belongings but temporary; an amount only deemed worthy for a year. No more no less. Then bags packed again. Shifted through another airport another silent taxi to somewhere new. New apartments, new keys, new bedroom window views. But right now, just the silent taxi in the dark grey streets. A twenty-minute taxi to start a new life. Quiet, safe, stuck inside. Music in my ears and worries in my mind. The new world awaits outside. Color and light speed by with every passing street. Will I fit in here? Among the city streets and leafless trees? Things slow down, no more blurry faces whipping by. Arrival. The destination has been reached. A twenty-minute taxi to start a new life.

Opening the door, I step into the reality of chaos and change. An unknown new chapter I have faced over and over before. Settling seems scary. Commitment and responsibility. A twenty-minute taxi to start a new life. In how many cities have I done this? How many times have I moved from apartment to apartment? At least a dozen I know. But there were small living situations in between as well. A twenty-minute taxi to start a new life. How I crave a home now. For the first time. A place that is all mine is all I can think of. Where I pick out all the little details. Fill the nook and crannies. I control the situation and who’s inside my special space. A twenty-minute taxi to start a new life. The rides always feel noiseless and silent. When I open the door the world seems fresh. A feeling I once craved I now almost dread. A twenty-minute taxi to start a new life. How long have I been running and from what I can’t tell. This isn’t the end, but maybe just one more place and then I think, maybe. Just maybe it will end. For after all, it’s just a twenty-minute taxi to a new life.