Chicago psychologist Joanne Ratkowski’s dark and shadowy images provoke powerful thoughs and emotion through their deep contrasts and the sexual potency of her subjects. These certainly aren’t just pretty girls in nice pictures, there’s  dark psychology at play. Clearly years behind the camera and in depth exploration of the human psyche is put to great use in Ratowski’s work.

“I journaled avidly for over ten years. At one point, my father begrudgingly loaned me his digital camera. After that time, photography became a natural metamorphosis of my journaling.”

“I evolved from articulating my ideas, needs and (dark) desires from the intangible written word to the more palpable image. Being a psychologist, many of my impressions come from my personal experience of aberrant, even disturbing, perceptions of psychopathology.”

Ratkowski also admits the images perhaps reveal some of the darker parts of her own thought process. Many of these images are oozing with symbolism made accessible to the viewer without always being obvious. Luxuriant props and sets are used to devastating effect.

“I often feel that the objects I photograph allow me to express their potential relationship between me and the world. I try to capture this naive impression in the most raw, even literal, visual sense. ”

Joanne Ratkowski