About Cissy

Cissy Spindler



I began photographing seriously in 1980 on the streets of San Francisco with an old Rollieflex.  That evolved to medium format work focusing on intimate landscapes. Soon after that I opened a custom black and white lab, which supported my fine art habit for more than 20 years.

I now live on the central coast of California.  I currently teach photography at the Academy of Art University of San Francisco in the online program.


Artist Statement

As an artist, it’s about distilling the essence of the subject. It begins and ends there in terms in my vision. I seek to reduce what I see in the world to its essentials. This is what inspires me. This is my visual passion.  After having photographed for many years, I’ve come to learn that this is how I was seeing the world before I ever picked up a camera.

My image making process is intuitive, keeping brainwork to a minimum. Feeling, rather than manipulating images is how I create. It’s a natural process.  The brainwork comes in when I am outputting the images either in the traditional or the digital darkroom.

I work spontaneously.   I bring elements together in my frame quickly. This encourages simplicity, spontaneity and intuition.  Line, shape, form perspective, light/shadow, all work to create my narratives. Form is the quotient of my images.

Edward Steichen, Alfred Steiglitz,  Georgia O’Keefe, Harry Callahan, Minor White, Michael Kenna and Aaron Siskind have been my invisible mentors.  They have, and still do continue to help shape my vision.  I am grateful for their contribution to the world of art. 

Photography is visual harmony defined within the frame.  The sum of the parts becomes the whole story and at times there are stories that expand beyond the frame.  Questions are asked, and questions are answered by the images. This leaves room for more inquiry and empowers the viewer with interpretive responsibilities.  Photography is interactive in this way.

Pre-visualization is an intuitive process. Ansel Adams professed that pre- visualizing the image brings multiple elements together in a harmonious fashion.  My intention is to choreograph visual elements so that they are distilled down to an essential statement.

These portfolios represent the visual explorations of my artistic growth throughout my life as a photographer.