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Film on acclaimed photographer Linda Troeller screens at the 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 10


By Anita LaBelle

originally published: 06/05/2023

Film on acclaimed photographer Linda Troeller screens at the 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 10

The relationship between women and water is one that has lasted the test of time. From King Arthur’s Lady of the Lake to La Llorona, there seems to be an intrinsic connection between the flowing liquid and the female form. Artist Linda Troeller devoted her life’s work to this link, analyzing the “intimate relationships between water, the female gaze,” and herself. Healing Waters directed by Derek Johnson and Ali Scattergood brings viewers on a tour of Linda Troeller’s artistic body of work, her impact, her findings, and her ongoing journey.  

In 1956, on the beaches of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, a young girl witnessed an injured man walk into the sea in order to feel a healing sensation. That young girl was Linda Troeller, and the injured man was her father. From that moment in her childhood and beyond, Troeller has been influenced and attune to the relief brought by the element of water. Through the medium of photography, Troeller has brought this special bond to the world for viewing and understanding. 

Troeller started photography through a chance encounter, being handed a camera and told to shoot behind the scenes of a college play she was a part of. Yet, Troeller's first photography experience was soon being advised by renowned artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and Troeller found herself shooting in nature, thus sparking a lifelong passion, and skill, for photography. While she may have stumbled into the craft of taking photographs, Troeller has not built a career on sheer luck, but rather on unsurmountable talent and enthusiasm. 

Film on acclaimed photographer Linda Troeller screens at the 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 10

Troeller has never shied away from “controversial” subjects, preferring to display humans and their place in nature in its true form. Instead of playing it safe with traditional and “palatable” images of foliage and the clothed human form, Troeller embraces the nude figure, the raw earth, and their interrelation. Going against the system, Troeller makes these choices not to sensationalize or sexualize, but to express the truthful innate association between a body of water and the human body. Still, it must be noted that Troeller’s work goes past the surface of the bare form, showing the soul of the person themselves. Her photographs foster the image of transformation, oftentimes with the figures not being models and struggling with self-image themselves, Troeller’s work at its core illustrates humanity, breaking personal barriers to display the connection between spirit and sea. 



 
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Seeking mentorship, Troeller journeyed to Mexico - a popular photography spot at the time, the destination soon led Troeller to hot springs where she spent multiple days reflecting and reposing. It was here that Troeller experienced firsthand water as a healing system, with the time spent submerged allowing her the space to cry tears as well as heal her broken heart. This important moment in Troeller’s own life was also where she came to have her first breakthrough photograph, thus cementing her legacy as one involving the spiritual powers of water and its effect. 

Troeller’s path also involved a two-decade residency at the famous Hotel Chelsea, known for being a home to artists of all sorts, from all walks of life. It was here that she restarted her career as a photographer, gaining new styles of shooting and invigorating her work with snapshots of night life and the creative process. 

Throughout her career and life as a photographer, Troeller has been celebrated for her ability to connect with people in a way that is non-judgmental, breaking the art world’s obsessions with aesthetics to capture holistic, vulnerable moments between people and the power of healing water. Healing Waters is a biographical film about “valued contributor to the first-generation feminist movement”, photographer Linda Troeller, whose world-renowned work has had a “profound influence on social ideologies concerning water and healing around the world”. 

Healing Waters screens at the 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 10. The film will be Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 5 PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ. Tickets are available for purchase here. Linda Troeller and Derek Johnson will be present to do a Q+A after in the in-person screening!


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