Ctrl+P: Photography taken offline – Tealia Ellis Ritter

Ctrl+P: Photography taken offline is an exciting venture at Catherine Edelman Gallery inspired by the hundreds of photographs we see on blogs and online galleries. Started in January 2011, CEG introduces Chicagoans to new artists we find while searching the web, exhibiting a small selection of one person’s work every two months, taking the pictures offline and putting them on the wall. It is our goal that Ctrl+P will provide further exposure for these photographers away from the glow of a computer monitor and without the temptation to click to the next link. We hope you will join us by unplugging from the internet and visiting CEG to see these photographs the way they were intended — in print.

Our latest installment of Ctrl+P features the work of Tealia Ellis Ritter. Tealia was born in Illinois in 1978. She was given her first camera at the age of six by her father. After attending Columbia College Chicago where she completed her BA in Fine Art Photography, she earned her MFA with the highest honors at the University of Iowa.  Her work has been exhibited across the U.S., most recently through the Magenta Foundation as a part of Flash Forward 2009, at Humble Arts “31 Under 31” exhibition, in The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography Volume 1, Silver Eye Center for Photography, The Photographic Center Northwest and in the multimedia project, “Pause to Begin.” She now lives and works in the Chicago area.

My dream is to realize who I truly am, 2007

The Live Creature and Ethereal Things

The specific genesis of, The Live Creature and Ethereal Things, was my family’s move to suburban Chicago. I found myself an outsider in a town where I knew no one. This created in me a heightened awareness of how I looked and how people looked at me. I began to experience a conscious and constant feeling of being on display.

The images chronicle the people that pass in and out of my daily life, including both friends and family, but are primarily comprised of strangers I approach on the street. My interests lie in exploring, in both a physical and emotional sense, the ways in which people choose to present themselves, and their environment, when they know they are going to be on display. Specifically focusing on the nature of longing, vulnerability, self-consciousness and image as a construction. As a culture now in the age of facebook and social networking, we are aware of our projected selves in a new way and the methods by which photographs can be used to shape people’s perceptions. Stylistically, the images are inspired by European society portraits, which similarly to the modern facebook page, present an idealized version of the individual and convey a sense of the sitter as part of a tableau created to be examined. There exists simultaneously the person that we are and the person we want to be, our self-presentation often dealing more with aspirations than reality. Each subject is allowed to dress in any way they would like and choose a setting they feel comfortable in, but the final image is a negotiation between my vision of the individual and the image of themselves they are working to project. At the end of the photo session, I give each subject the opportunity to write down a dream, although they are not required to do so. The dream statements allow for a parallel declaration to be made solely by the subjects, in the form of words rather than through their image. The meaning of “dream” is left up to the subjects to determine. — Tealia Ellis Ritter

Olivia, 2009

We were fortunate to have Tealia attend the opening. We asked her to introduce the project with a quick video. Check it out below, but be sure to visit CEG to see the work in person.

Exposure 2011 – 2011

Women in Photography – 2011

Humble Arts Foundation

Wan.der.lust.ag.ra.phy – 2010

Sadie Magazine – Fall/Winter 2010


Conscientious – 2008

Pause, to Begin – 2008