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May 03, 2004

Exploring Memory, Heritage and the Scene of the Crime

When I attended AIPAD in March, I was overwhelmed by the amount of fine art black and white available and printed large, using various alternative processes. As I mentioned in a previous post, the general vibe was classic and a bit conservative, but there was a lot of quality work on display.

One artist whose large color prints caught my eye in the sea of black and white and sepia was Steve Fitch, who had a couple of large 30x40 images from his portfolio of abandoned High Plains buildings. Photos of abandoned buildings are not new, of course, and looking back at the show, I see that his color work fit the general aesthetic of AIPAD more than it first seemed. But he has a nice sense of color and the good photographs do warrant the larger reproductions. (they look OK on the web, though quite diminished in impact). From his artist's statement:

"Scattered across the plains these interior spaces exist like countless individual "museums" dotting the landscape and are the most private part of the landscape. However, the "exhibits" inside are not frozen in time but are instead in a state of constant change. Like crime scene photographs, these pictures are loaded with the evidence of innumerable past events which accumulates over time to shape a detailed scene that I discover and photograph."


Steve Fitch image

Memory and change are also masterfully captured in a more overtly dream-like manner by Ken Rosenthal, whose technique, subjects and compositions come across as deceptively simple, but give the viewer plenty to think about. He has two outstanding series on his website: "Seen and Not Seen" and "Not Dark Yet"...the first series is especially haunting. Though the thumbnails provide a good overview, his images can viewed in much larger sizes, and it's interesting to see how many of them do reward the larger view.


Ken Rosenthal image, from "Seen and Not Seen"

Continuing with memory and loss, and moving on to even bigger themes of heritage and culture, Angie Buckley is one of the most imaginative practitioners of the pinhole, certainly in taking on the big and worthwhile themes she explores. I first saw her work in limited excerpts in Shots Magazine and Nueva Luz, and she has her entire portfolio, "The In-Between" online, sequenced as a series of diptychs. As one of many caught between multiple cultures whom she seems to address with this project, I find her photographic ruminations very powerful.


"Systems are Built" Angie Buckley image

I'll have more to say about Shots at some point, I'm sure, given that it's one of my favorite fine arts photo magazines, especially guided by the sensibility of editor Russell Joslin. Shots has always come across as a low-tech labor of love, but it's nice to see that they have something more like a legitimate web site now, and that Joslin has a fine showcase for his prolific self-portraits (which I've enjoyed seeing in bits and pieces through past issues)...and it's an even more pleasant surprise to see that he's a very creative portraitist in his own right.


Russell Joslin portrait

02:33 AM | Permalink


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