Patricia A. Bender is a photographic artist living and working in New Jersey and Michigan. She began studying photography in the early 2000s, and was hooked from the moment she shot and developed her first image. She works exclusively with black and white film in the darkroom, and personally creates each image from the moment it's shot through the finished gelatin silver print.
Bender has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, and is the recipient of numerous awards for her work. Her work is held in several private collections. Bender produces her work in editions of three or as unique images.
"My work emerges from profound silence. Whether I am standing alone deep in the woods or -- less frequently -- in a city in the midst of chattering human beings, I enter a silent space to create my images. When I do this, I connect to the silence that resides and resounds in all things. My senses are heightened and the world begins to shimmer and glow.
"I sink deep into this silence and focus intently, stripping away extraneous, distracting details. I visually whittle until I touch the core of the silence. Then I release my shutter. The shutter fires when I feel I have caught a perfect moment of silence on film -- in the movement of water, in the pattern of dry grasses, or in a ray of light falling on a stand of trees.
"Silence continues in the darkroom, where my gaze rests solely on the image before me. I try to honor the captured moment and to communicate the silence trapped in the emulsion of the film by reducing even more. I may soften the focus, I may darken a shape, or if I am lucky I may leave it just as I found it.
"I often choose to print the image small, to pull you close, and to nudge you into the silence. By creating small images, I invite you to look deeply and experience the silence I felt when I captured them on film. And there's the crucial point: in all that I create I want you to feel. Not think, not sense. Feel. What ends up in a frame on the wall is my expression of our shared silence. It is from our feeling this silence together that our connection is made and my art is born."