“Intermission is a photographic observation of the iconic environments America has called Drive-ins for over a half century. These outdoor movie theaters embody a classic American movie-going tradition that has lasted for decades and engendered memories for thousands of people. They are scenes that have evolved over time, while continuing to symbolize an iconic landscape of American automobile culture, family experience, cinema history, and classic teenage romance. Of the more than 5,000 drive-in theaters that operated in the US during the 1950’s, only an estimated 350 remain. Many of these once thriving Drive-ins have closed down due to the advancement of new technologies, suburban development, corporate influence, and change in American values. Arizona at one time had close to 50 Drive-in movie theaters; today only 2 remain in business. Although the number of locations has decreased significantly, Arizona’s Drive-in theaters continue to embrace an irrefutable timeless appeal, providing nostalgic memories and creating opportunities for unique experiences. This photographic endeavor observes the remnants of people’s personal encounters with the outdoor theater, documenting both their disengagement from as well as their interaction with the environment. As night turns to day, and the Drive-in landscape stands empty, sunlight reveals the altered effects that the absence and presence of people’s continued occupation and use of the place create. Evidence of the change in awareness of a tradition suspended in time becomes apparent while traces depicting the tension between timelessness and evolutionary change are revealed. “Intermission” explores what happens between shows and symbolizes the physical appearance, the eternal psychological embodiment and the ever-changing character of the iconic American Drive-in.”
Though some of Timmerman’s photos depict the irregular collections of forms in nature scenes, it is the architecture shots that attract my eye–perfectly composed essays that seem to demonstrate one-point perspective here, and over there, a view utilizing two-point perspective, like so many drawing studies made to explain horizon, vanishing point and always wonderfully rational angles. Though the camera, like the eye, is bound to see the possible arrays of angled structures in expected ways, there is more–and less–to any chance glance at any part of the world. But when the eye is trained to find a shape, that shape, at least for a while, magically fills everything, even pools of dust, roving clouds, and all that takes our dreams through the skies.
Excerpt from interview by Scott Andrews for Hearsight.com
Bokeh Gallery, here in the monOrchid building is very proud to present:
Bob Carey: Photographs
Exhibit: February 19 through April 15
Reception for the Artist: February 19, 2010 6-9 p.m.
Bokeh is proud to present the work of Bob Carey
Bob Carey, photographs… the self, raw, introspective, playful, humorous, and always thought provoking. A self that happens to be his own. Carrying on the tradition of work exploring the multivalent definitions of gender and identity, Bob Carey is a photographer based in New York City. Who, like the forerunners whose names include Marcel Duchamp’s alter ego Rrose Selavy, as photographed by Man Ray, and onward into the present as with Cindy Shermans notable photographic works of self portraiture, Bob Carey, like-wise turns the camera upon himself and in the doing makes Art.
Capitol A, period, full stop…
Refined by the fires of introspection and gilded by authenticity, Bob Carey produces images showcased in galleries and collected privately on the merits his originality and his keen sense of depicting the ambient tensions existing amidst modernity’s solipsism, and the graphic contents afforded by either the urban or pastoral landscapes that he portrays himself in. Where, much like the work of the predecessors mentioned, Bob Carey’s images beckons our eyes into the frame, until there we chance upon a familiar space, hushed , hidden yet common to all: to have our lives witnessed, to be seen by the other,and recognized as value, if not for that waking sentience of being itself, restless, bare, exposed and standing there to behold as answer.
For here residing in this becoming, is the flash point of Carey’s aesthetic. The space where Bob Carey’s work separates itself from the horizon of those talents who went before, perhaps even as far back as the liquid gaze of Narcissus himself , innumerably imaged by the painters of antiquity. Times passes , as does landscape, as well as the technology in the making of an image; and yes while true in differing mediums, each is staged in the still beat of narrative, Carey’s work contains no symmetry nor echo of the beloved , such terms elude us, for his images are aware and almost promethean-like in craft, an endeavor kindled as an offering to illuminate the landscape of his own darkness, all of which could be summed up in echoes of his own footfalls to set position before the shutter is tripped , if there must be a referent, of a single intelligible word, imaged in silence and etched within frame. the word: Vulnerability. Where almost child- like in its witness each image is a gesture of tension, both arising and now still. A photograph of remember, that requests looking along rather than merely just at, all made by one who says, yes look here, yes witness me, for yes i am fearfully and wonderfully made. And indeed there within each yes, and through such imagery, each a choice as it is an affirmation by the attention of composition, we in turn see ourselves and because of this are better for it.
Cherished then and framed just so, an image of light, a man in a pink tutu, irreverent, there in landscape.An object of beauty: the picture. The content; He. God-made, singular, hairy, made of bone, blood, sweat and tears, both body and spirit, utterly unique, never to come again neither in personality nor in likeness, indeed His yes, complete, named Bob followed by Carey. One who, so named and entire, imaged irreverent, is a maker and continues on. For Bob Carey’s work and attendant craft affirms and is needed reminder, a testimony to the art ‘of making art’ for the sake of growth as both memoir and as fiction. In works articulated by gesture or there in pose, his work abides as witness “written in light’, as photograph, as it is written on the heart- all before bounding away into leap.
For thats where it is hidden, and therein lies the appeal, the recognition which one sees in his memorable work, this hope, this beauty that cascades into the eye. We as image makers know this, and once grasped hold it close, making the picture perfect, free of gravity and bearing it up toward the answer that lurks beyond glance near the edges of things and how this, once glimpsed draws us on, past our own notions of nonconformity, normalcy and outward, into a far closer world that is more than just random or sound and fury but gained, true, wild and ever rising.
- especially for those who have found the courage to wear the pink tutu as he.
Bob Carey photographs.
all images ©2010 Bob Carey
Bokeh Gallery had the opportunity to visit with the photographer John Wagner whose show will be rolling out tonite at the Bokah Gallery. All for a late afternoon studio visit to talk about his art and get to know the man as an artist, father, and as inspiration.
Here’s be some snippets from the conversation…
Bokeh: Of mentors, that someone who opens the door…the vista and says look here…lets start with this …
Did you have a mentor? –
John Wagner: Yes, but not just one I had great instructors at Carbondale (university) Chuck Swedland would bring in the work of Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind…great stuff.
At the time I had no idea I was interested in photography and more interested in just the cameras….as a tool maybe going back to my wood working days… smell of the wood and great tools.
Bokeh: Do you remember your first camera..
JW: Oh yes a Nikon EM .. shrimpy little thing I brought in a drugstore in Freeport, illinois… with the money I had made and sweated out on a paper route
Bokeh: How old were you
Bokeh: And the camera, shrimpy, what do you mean…
JW: Well when I got to class and saw all the others – shrimpy, shrimpy all the more (laughs) all the other people had cameras, lets just say more substantial. And there was was another (mentor) too, David Gilmore.
Bokeh: The David Gilmore of Pink Floyd?
JW: No,but he did look like Roger Daltrey.( lead singer of the british rock band, The Who) he taught
sensitometry and Chuck well he taught the non silver.
Bokeh: And what did these individuals impart….
JW: Well they taught me the masters, the details and the care.
Bokeh: Harold Bloom speaks of the “anxiety of Influence” his notion that poets suffer the tension of always trying to out do their, for lack of a better term, their master’s work….lets just say if you had one photographer you admire, one you might if one could raise ‘em up and heck even have dinner with …give a wink and then tip the hat, who would that be?
JW: Harry Callahan
Bokeh; Any others…lets say Harry Callahan just cant make it through the netherworld.
JW: Then I’m just gonna go with Lanterman *(laughs)
Bokeh: Fine choice
Bokeh: What was it though with Callahan’s that gave you that spark…
JW:Well he was a classic street shooter but he experimented, played all the time…multiple exposures
Bokeh; His wife
JW: Yes Eleanor….lots of those… great stuff and always different.
Bokeh: And Like you from Chicago way.
JW: Yes maybe thats it …
Bokeh: Lets do a little archaeology of your past as an image maker, do you recall that moment that breakthrough image or the first moment when you stepped out of the shadows of these grand talents like Callahan…and knew you had arrived and passed into your own.
JW: (pauses)… well it was a show I did, I shot with the square format…I just remember not a particular image really its was just something there present in that that body of images…and that all derived from the darkroom part of it
Bokeh: How do you mean
JW: Well I kind of get more excited in that part of the process….I walk, take pictures but in the dark …you put the emotion into it, all there in the darkroom…
Bokeh: Can you describe your process.
JW: Just split tone bleach and sepia….
Bokeh: Now with digital, samller and smaller cameras,the marketplace, this recession… John what sustains you..
JW: My daughter…I mean I love photography I really do, looking at work , the work of others….
I love it all. But… I cant express myself really well ….and maybe thats it- its the work…and
maybe through that she’ll see this box full of pictures someday and see how i cared about her , the people I was crazy about, the places I’ve seen – its the only way I can express what they all mean to me.
Bokeh: And that is…
JW: To give Maise the gift of knowing, that and knowing where I came from.
Bokeh: Thats beautiful, thank you.
(John Wagner smiles)
Bokeh: If you were to tell anything to an upcoming photographer, any advice, what would that be…
JW: Most important have fun with shooting –play..don’t spend all the time thinking over the equipment; that and shoot , the more u shoot the more you know…
oh and lay off photoshop…
Bokeh: How do you mean, don’t manipulate?
JW: What I mean is remove stuff…yes the temptations there, but its not worth it.. like this: I was exhibiting at the kickoff for Photo LA and there was an exhibitor there with some really nice stuff…landscapes…stark scenes a single building, great work …and we started talking but he told me he had photoshopped out buildings….and it -
Bokeh: Broke your trust.
JW: Yes ruined it…he had other work and you just wondered…are these people really there or are they just added from other shots, it was just disappointing.
Bokeh: I’m gonna pull back a bit John, and ask this, why do u still shoot with film
JW: The process…I still shoot digital commercially, its a great tool..but that stuff, they all go into a hard drive- but (rises and walks over to an old worn box of photopaper) this….(opening and holds up picture…) this I can hold, touch and look through them…rediscover… I could go through the stuff for days and I’ll revisit them and get excited all again and see something new and print it again…
Bokeh: Your images are all compact -tight in their economy and strength… an image complete… and magnified because you partake in and push it to the edges of every step…the whole process even going as far as building the beautiful frames….with all this, do you have a hard time not going back, getting stuck or repeating yourself.
JW: Hmmm, going back…well to tell you truth, what really is hard is seeing a print of mine hanging somewhere and to look at it can make my stomach turn, and I want go back and ‘borrow” it and reprint it and then return it. But regarding making images— there’s always something new.
Like these….(pulls out some landscapes of desert) I printed these small, it softens them
makes the desert more romantic….or this cat…
Bokeh: I hate cats
JW: Me too nasty thing, it would jump on my promotional materials and take a piss drove me nuts…
Bokeh:What a critic
JW: No kidden’
Bokeh: These photographs gained and surrounding us here and these that will be in the show, were they… or let me me be blunt… do you ever chance upon a scene and just say holy sh**
JW; Not really, more often its a blur then I come back look at the negatives and thats where I realize where I have been.
Bokeh: Do you make contacts
JW: No I just read the negatives…
Bokeh: How do you keep fresh- what I mean is not getting stuck
JW: (laughs) Thats easy you delete the shi##y ones, no seriously… again I walk alot and shoot if I have a camera with me.
Bokeh: And so when you grab a roll of 120/220 film, load the camera up and seek out, is that when you go into the zone, so to speak?
JW: Yes I’m there…it’s like, as if I have a forcefield around me… I can step into traffic the cars whizzing by and people pointing but I don’t care…its what’s going on for me.
Bokeh; We being sentient creatures, we make distinctions just to understand and in turn be understood..how do you reconcile the tension, or for lack of a better word keep balance amongst those that must divide your commercial work from that of your fine-art.
JW: I was just talking about that to a friend, and thats one I don’t get…that line… many in fine art feel if you shoot commercial your not dedicated… a few months ago I was in big-named gallery in Chicago and I overheard the gallery owner say to her talent, one very successful fine art photographer, that she needed him to shoot the style and kind of this one type of picture more because thats what sells…she was directing him…its a dance…to me there’s really no difference….its all the same…business.
Bokeh: I recall a shot of Ansel Adam’s shooting a picture of school kids….a cutline said even he did the daily work. the commercial gig.
JW: Yeah, that and they seem to quickly forget Weston, Adams…all those names….they all had commercial careers.
Bokeh: Yes, puzzling evidence.
And speaking of the evidence or the need for more, did you get your masters? The reason why I ask is I fondly recall hearing the advice: well most artists we represent have their masters.
JW: Crap….all that teaches you is bullshitting about photography, not taking the picture…and that guy is not gonna be sitting in living room of your home explaining the picture to you every time you look it.
Bokeh: Whats your next project?
JW: the Salton sea….then London
Bokeh: Your images much of them are from your extensive travels…Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain,England – Europe…what comprises your travel kit.
JW: Rollei 6008 and 2 lens…
Bokeh: Thats it
JW: Thats it
An image, and the artist John Wagner, complete.
The Photographer John Wagner : The Light Poetic
at the Bokeh Gallery
* Timothy Lanterman , Landscape photographer, (american 1963- ) and good friend of Mr. John Wagner’s.
Bokeh Gallery, here in the monOrchid building is very proud to present:
John Wagner: The Light Poetic
Exhibit: January 15- February 18, 2010
Opening reception with John Wagner
January 15, 2010, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
John Wagner is that rare breed of photographer one who many call a photographer’s photographer- one whose work stops the eye and leaves the heart better for it. The vision, inherent within every frame of his work best exemplifies the level of quality many seek but few find: the passionate eye… and much like the man, his art is lithe in economy while potent in its gravities of grace. Each piece is taloned in composition and keenly complete in the practice of not just observation, but testifies to the art of visualisations of tone and light made into an image complete.
This holistic and organic approach is the unspoken hallmark of John Wagner’s style, and as a traditionalist still working with film his gestures there in the darkroom resonate the value of process and testify to upholding a vanishing art form lingering beyound the iris and residing as trace.
Wagner’s approach is fully attuned to the capabilities and limits of the lens and like a musician he pushes the instrument into framed compositions reflective and responding both to the commonplace as well as the uncommon, making imagery that consistently leaves all viewers in the afterglow of the poetic luminosities.
Enriched and steeped in the wisdom gained through his extensive travels and the experiences drawn from his relations with family, friends and acquaintances, Wagner’e eye reveals a deep sensitivity to the intimations that lurk beneath the surface of everyday life. While the world looks at things, John Wagner feels them and somehow manages to manipulates the light there in the darkroom toward the ineffable; one known not by name but recognized as true, tangible and something to hold onto.
In the upcoming days, we at Bokeh will have the chance to sit down with John Wagner for a brief interview in his studio in downtown Phoenix, so please do check back.
all images ©2010 John Wagner