Afterglow: Four Photographers & the Hand-Held Light
David Lebe, Robert Flynt, Gary Schneider + Warren Neidich
Opening Reception: Saturday July 18 from 6 to 8pm
July 16, 2009through August 30, 2009
As a child, I always had trouble falling asleep. Nighttime was when I played out all my stories, in the dark, eyes tracing shapes, once familiar, but no longer recognized without light. Once I grabbed a flashlight, pressed it against my palm to make my skin glow red. I was 8 years old and extraterrestrial. In the large mirror across from my bed, my reflection burned brightly. I was glowing. A midnight inventor. That same flashlight would serve both as protector and accomplice - illuminating the dark recesses of my childhood room and pulling wild performances from my adolescent imagination. I wanted to always see something, even in the darkness.
What I didn't have then was a way of recording this experience -- fast forward to today, and I have the wonderful opportunity of presenting "Afterglow", an exhibit of photographers creating and documenting light performances seen only by the eye of their camera. Using long exposures and small hand held lights -- often just a inexpensive flashlight – these images have been noting ideas, emotions and sensations that traditional photographs cannot.
These alluring performances can start with the arc of a small light passing through the darkness or a series of momentary brisk swirls and flashes in the night. Ephemeral moments strung together to form a picture, alive only in the mind of the photographer until revealed later, whole, in the completed image. Who can refuse the power of these images? Or not identify with such shimmering, arrested moments. Whether describing the life force of a human body or that of a larger universe, the synapses of the mind, the afterglow of strong emotions, the electric spark jumping between bodies or centuries, these photographs offer up a clear expression of the photographer’s vision – emphasizing the instinctive bond between hand and brain.
The work of these photographers is vital and never still. Their images register something of what human life is and of what human life might be; present fully in every instant of time. The gleaming tracery evokes a gradual recognition of nose, mouth, chin, and neck coalescing into a recognizable form like "man", or even an individual, like "Christopher", but this body transcends those familiar, literal forms. Alfred Stieglitz, a hundred years ago, believed that personality could not be expressed by a face alone. The work in this exhibit agrees; it attempts to further sensitize photography - extending the medium to take in more and more of life's fleeting glow.