Photos by Amanda Jones
Time is a strange thing, rushing by staccato before we can assess our part in it, or dragging on long past its “best by date” like a dirge. The photograph has a mysterious capacity to arrest time in all its glory, or horror. The last 150-years have, arguably, been mediated by photographic images, never more so than in our contemporary world of instant, mass image sharing.
The same effect of the digital age can be seen in much of artistic production, not the least music.
So it was perhaps fitting that the official opening of my “Transitions” photo exhibit, yesterday at the Heron Rock Bistro, in Victoria, BC, should be accompanied by music, performed live by a superb jazz duo.
The work I chose for this show represents an arc of time spanning 34-years, some of which flew by in the blink of an eye, some dragging too long through hard times. But that is the extraordinary power of the photograph — whatever associations I have personally with the memories they evoke for me become secondary in the public sphere. Viewers are drawn by their own emotions. Perhaps they have memories associated with one of the locations in these images (which are mostly urban landscapes from my Eighties Vancouver portfolio and contemporary Victoria scenes) or a more subtle feeling aroused by the tone of the image.
This was certainly the case with one of my new patrons, who expressed with great emotion how my work had awakened in him deep and somewhat disturbing memories, which nonetheless acted as catharsis.
What greater satisfaction could any visual artist wish for? My whole career has been motivated by the deep empathy I found visiting the works of great image-makers like Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Jacques Henri Lartigue, August Sander, and EJ Bellocq. Could I possibly presume to create images with so much symbolic power hiding beneath their silver-gelatin emulsion surface?
The Transitions Show is comprised of new pigment ink prints from scans of (1980s) negatives, pure digital files, and a couple of silver-gelatin prints, enlarged from original negs. It runs into January, 2016.