Such Great Heights

John Griebsch, Jefferson Hayman, Kahn & Selesnick, Vincent Laforet and Keith Loutit

Reception: Saturday, November 29 from 6 to 8pm

November 29, 2008 through January 11, 2009

The inaugural exhibition at Carrie Haddad Photographs, the brand new exhibit space of Carrie Haddad Gallery, borrows its title from The Postal Services' song, Such Great Heights. The song romantically proclaims that, "everything looks perfect from far away" and the five photographers featured in this show explore a world seen from this same spectacular vantage point. Whether they attempt to transmit a narrative or not, they radiate a sense of great magnitude; the world appears immense and yet wholly intimate and personal. Standing on the edge of the photograph, the viewer feels fierce and full of possibility. The unbounded horizon has always stood as metaphor for the limitless nature of personal experience, inviting explorers and wanderers betokened by the grandeur of the expansive landscape.

Such Great Heights, speaks of an idyllic euphoria, a dizzying love affair, always aggressive, leaving you on a peak you are reluctant to depart: "They will see us waving from such great heights/ 'come down now,' they'll say / But everything looks perfect from far away, / 'come down now,' but we'll stay." The photographs included in this exhibition share this same intoxication.

In his essay, ''Truth and Landscape'' Robert Adams states that landscape art is important because it can meet our need to experience the world as comprehensible: ''We rely, I think, on landscape photography to make intelligible to us what we already know. It is the fitness of a landscape to one's experience of life's condition and possibilities that finally makes a scene important or not.''

John Griebsch's photographs of American aerial landscapes depict the pattern, color and design of natural and manmade landforms. Most of the aerials have been made from Griebsch's vintage 1952 Cessna 170B aircraft. He explains, "I find the need to make geographical sense of the earth, as well as the need to make visual sense of a photograph. I work with ambiguity of scale, and the strong graphic quality of nature, and the hand of man on nature. These characteristics have motivated my work from the time I started flying and photographing as a teenager."

Photographer Jefferson Hayman's New York City sky is punctuated by a lone dirigible or airship floating, dreamlike, almost as if pulled from some noir film. Hayman says, "I tell all of my friends in NYC, whenever you see one, call my cell phone and tell me where it is. I then go find it and wait for it to fly into a proper composition, and hopefully I get the shot. I sometimes try to sound intelligent and liken this process to Ahab chasing the great whale."

There is a certain romance and adventure around airships and Hayman's photographs evoke a nostalgic journey to an obscure and imperceptible time period. Inside his world, the viewer dreamily contemplates the comfort and resonance of the images which induce inexplicable moments of déjà vu. The frames that Hayman creates are almost as important as the images they contain and are either period or reflect the designs of the early 20th century & late 19th century American aesthetic.

Photographers, Kahn & Selesnick have been collaborating to produce multi-layered exhibitions for the past 20 years, and their most recent project Eisbergfreistadt, tells the story of the post-World War I Baltic port town of Lubeck, which was struck by a monumental iceberg in 1923. Townspeople imagined the eventual flooding, thought it was a sign of the apocalypse, and created Eisbergfreistadt, an "Iceberg Free State." In their signature style, Kahn and Selesnick tell their story by blending together fact and fiction in masterfully staged photographs. Two large works (7 feet long by 1 foot wide) will be on view. Their odd proportions, coupled with such fantastical imagery, make for larger than life dioramas of fictional horizons.

Vincent Laforet, a New York based commercial and editorial photographer, previously recognized for his striking aerial shots, has been trying out a new technique utilizing tilt-shift lenses. A tilt-shift lens allows the photographer very exacting control over the depth-of-field in an image, much more than any regular lens could provide. Focus can be restricted to a single, narrow band, with everything else rapidly blurring away. This distorts the appearance and makes the eye think that distances are far smaller than they typically are. When applied to a large scene like a city or a museum, everything appears miniature.

Also employing this same approach, but this time in motion, is Australian photographer Keith Loutit. His recent videos featuring the Sydney Harbor and its environs have garnered much interest through such websites as Vimeo, and YouTube. Loutit says, "By combining tilt-shift & time-lapse photography I help audiences to distance themselves from subjects they know well. My goal is to present ordinary subjects, which once treated by this technique become more curious. My process combines thousands of photographic stills into short films that each last less than 3 minutes." On exhibit will be both Loutit's video works and still photographs.

Carrie Haddad Photographs is located at 318 Warren Street in Hudson, NY. Gallery hours are from 10 am to 9pm Thursday through Saturday, 10 am to 6pm Sunday and Monday. For more information please call the gallery at 518-828-7655

Kahn & Selesnick

Jefferson Hayman

John Griebsch

Keith Loutit

Vincent Laforet