Kali Spitzer’s series Places features self-portraits in various stages of undress. Spitzer has situated herself in abandoned and rundown locations, ruin-like structures and harsh environments. In the colonial canon of art history, the cis- female nude (cisgender meaning an individual who identifies as the biological sex identified at birth) has long been a device used as a symbol for multiple concepts, including the notion of divinity, as a symbol of fertility and as a physical representation of the land itself. The cis-female nude also signifies the reality of the cis-male gaze and echoes the objectification of women and their bodies. By picturing herself nude in these forgotten spaces, Spitzer reclaims representations of herself and her body through a rejection of victimhood and a liberation of her corporeal and psychic being. Spitzer also calls to light realities of violence and misrepresentation installed through structurally violent colonial systems, commenting on the fetishization of women, specifically Indigenous women, and the scourge of violence and rape that has been afflicted upon their communities by largely non-Indigenous perpetrators.
Kali Spitzer is a conceptual photographer working in film, habitually using 35mm, 120 and large format in her work, as well as utilizing the wet plate collodion process with an 8×10 camera. Her work includes portraits, figure studies and photographs of her community. Spitzer documents Indigenous practices with a sense of urgency, highlighting their vital cultural significance. She focuses on cultural revitalization through her art, whether in the medium of photography, ceramics, tanning hides, or hunting as a form of Indigenous resistance and survivance. She views all of these practices as art and as part of an exploration of self.