“Girls on Film” at Mastroianni Photography and Arts
Girls on Film is a three part exhibition of new work featuring portraits of my daughters. Like the proverbial cobbler and his shoeless children, I rarely remember to do for my own family what I am paid to do for others, namely, create beautiful, formal portraits. However, there is a layer of familiarity and even reluctance with one’s own family which complicates the photographer/sitter relationship, and this series allows me to stretch out and toy with that dynamic, both allowing the subjects to become comfortable in front of the camera, and allowing me to direct them in ways to convey other ideas entirely. The use of the vintage film cameras, especially the large view camera, isn’t about nostalgia at all, but about process. As I tell my students (over and over again), process informs aesthetic, and the aesthetic here is one that is created by the need to slow down the entire photographic process. The bulkiness of the cameras–being fixed to a tripod, the low sensitivity of the film and the slow shutter speeds required, and the resulting need for careful and deliberate posing are all processes which result in the aesthetic of the vintage photographic look of the subjects themselves. This same kind of slow approach can be applied to new technology to result in the intended aesthetic, but with modern materials and capabilities. The process of developing film and hand printing results in the very real “old fashioned” looking photographs, while the process of digital manipulation and printing results in the very contemporary images and the ability to easily create the multi-panel collages of those photographs which are on display. The ongoing process of returning to the studio for multiple sittings results in the aesthetic of the recurring themes and variations seen in the different series. The portrait series include both contemporary technology and traditional silver based b&w photography, with digital print installations presented alongside hand printed medium and large format silver gelatin photographs. The exhibit will open on July 12, and will continue through the summer months with new work being added each month. The final opening reception will take place at the studio (2688 West 14th) on September 13 from 6-10pm, as part of the monthly Tremont Artwalk. The exhibit can be viewed on other days by appointment.