Friday, December 02
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Water: The Emotional Muse

The Fine Art Photography of Lynn Savarese

Monet in the Adirondacks

Of all the elements of earth, air, fire and water — it is water that has beguiled the human imagination, mostly because it is the element of emotion. Photographer Lynn Savarese beautifully captures this depth of expression in her fine art. She explains, “There is no better subject matter to convey the profound range of emotion we feel as humans — from tumultuous fury, to exquisite calmness, to ecstasy, and everything in between.” Savarese, who started her professional life as a corporate lawyer and then spent decades volunteering for different human rights organizations, only discovered her passion for photography when she took an introductory photography class at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan not quite ten years ago. “Learning the basics of how to operate a camera, and viewing the world through its lens, was revelatory,” says Savarese, “It was if I had been given a magical pair of glasses and could see so much of the world in an entirely new way, and as if for the first time.”

A nature lover and outdoor adventurer, Savarese grabbed her internal dowsing rods and her camera and set off to capture her subject matter. “The greatest joy for me as a photographer is the intimacy I feel with nature as I photograph its masterful creations. I especially love the challenge in attempting to portray water anew, and I’ve travelled the world to capture water images. We all know that being in or near water triggers neural responses. The sight and sound of water — and immersion in water — all induce powerful feelings of well-being,” says Savarese, “But scientific studies have revealed that even gazing at mere images of water has beneficial health effects — also inducing a flood of neurochemicals that promote wellness and relaxation and increase blood flow to the brain and heart.”

Lynn Savarese with her artwork at the White Room Gallery, BH

But before a trip to Iceland several years ago, it was not peace and serenity, but rather rage, that was her siren song. “Images of water can serve as powerful metaphor, and I often seek out and photograph water images to express my own feelings,” says Savarese, “At that time, feeling great anger and despair as a result of the prevailing political climate, I sought expressions of fury in water. And in Iceland, with its ferocious waterfalls, I found the images of deep angst and tumult I was looking for. But luckily for me, being in the company of those waterfalls also calmed my own rage. I felt baptized and renewed by their continuous flow and music.”

For her personal calming influence, Savarese also enjoys her home in Bridgehampton, which turned from a weekend escape to a full-time silver lining during the pandemic. Training for the New York City Marathon this past summer and fall, Savarese found the run along Ocean Road to the beach to be the perfect distance, with the ocean being the always sweet end reward. “Every time you go it’s different and stunning,” she comments. 

It was meeting Kat O’Neill and Andrea McCafferty at the White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton that gave Savarese and her art a welcoming home outside of New York City. Having the opportunity to exhibit her photography in the beautifully curated spaces has been a tremendous gift, she explains, for without Kat and Andrea showing her work, she wouldn’t have much occasion to turn her digital files on her computer into prints, and to see her images at the scale they were intended to be seen.

Savarese is also drawn to water’s more abstract properties. As she explains, “Water has been an invaluable art instructor. Images reflected on a very still surface of water can teach one how to render subjects precisely, but with the greater saturated color and painterly light that the water itself adds. Reflections on water that is in motion, on the other hand, with all of their distortions and wide variation of ripples and strokes, can teach one the fundamentals of more abstract art, including impressionism and expressionism.”


Savarese also pays homage to water’s place in the larger universe, with her “Water Galaxies” series. “I love how reflections of strong white light on the surface of water often seem to portray the vast distant galaxies from which it came. We all take water so much for granted but it is one of the most mysterious substances and scientists don’t even have it figured out.”

Seeing the world through a camera lens not only dominates Savarese’s waking life, but also her dreams. “Since becoming immersed in photography, my mind teems with images rather than words, even in my dreams at night. But photography is also a language — a universal language at that — and fluency in a fluent medium like water expresses emotions better than words ever could.”