I will be showing some work at 555 Gallery that is familiar to some of you starting October 4 at 555 Gallery in Boston. The opening is Saturday, October 11 from 5-8 pm.
My pictures are of medical specimens, abnormalities and deformities, both human and animal, from the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia and the Spallanzini Collection in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
The Mutter Museum ones are new prints, in color and large. I don't believe I've ever shown the color ones in print form. They are from 8 x 10 inch transparencies.
The show is called "The Devil's Promenade" and features works by
Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley.
I very much hope to see you there.
October 11, 5- 8 pm.
After last week's shoot in Washington at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (here) I headed down to Martha's Vineyard. To be truthful, it has felt like R and R as photographing those specimens is very difficult emotionally.
The Vineyard's perfect as it is a powerful cathartic for me and always has been. I am using the same tools, the same camera I used last week to photograph endless jars of premature death; abnormal and deformed life cut short, to see what's here that is the same but different than the last time I was here back in early June.
I very often start here:
Which is a beach near the cliffs at Gay Head( Aquinnah).
You must have places you love and revisit to confirm they are still there and that assert that everything is okay with the world, even though we know all is not well.
I've being working in High Dynamic Range, which I do rarely as it often looks over cooked and artificial to me.
But there is no doubt that it allows us to handle a dynamic range that is way outside the camera's innate ability.
BTW: speaking of landscape photography, you might want to take a look at this
list: 100 landscape photographers worth knowing as it impressed me with just how much os out there that is very very good.
While here I will fly again as I am working on some new approaches to aerial photographing that I want to try out.
This is the s second post on pictures I made this past week at the Museum. Post No. 1 is here.
The next group of pictures will be a little harder to deal with. If you're squeamish about photographs of human and animal remains perhaps you should stop here.
By the afternoon of Day One I was pretty well finished with photographing things in the public area. I asked Brian Spatola, the Museum's Lab Manager, if there were specimens in storage that I could photograph. After some thought, he agreed that I could. This is a National Museum, meaning that the place is there for us as citizens of the U.S. The Museum is on an Army Base and is under the control of the Department of Defense, so there were many procedures we had to follow. One of them meant we had to move each specimen out of storage on to a cart, roll it out to the public display area to photograph it, then roll it back again.
Over that afternoon and the following morning we did just that many times.
Gretchen Worden, the former head (now deceased) of the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia told me one of the times I was there photographing, that these preserved deformities and abnormalities are very simply a part of life and not something that should be closeted away or things that we should be denied access to.
Here are Cailin and Amy, my two helpers at the Museum standing next to the cart they used to transport the specimens back and forth:
And here is one of the objects on the cart:
By noon on Day Two I was done. The staff needed to get back to their jobs and I needed to get home. I said my goodbyes, packed up the car with my gear and drove back home. About 7 hours after leaving the Museum I found myself in a below average restaurant south of Providence, sitting at the bar having a beer and a bowl of chili. The last frame in my camera, after shooting at the Museum for two days, is this I made as the sun went down from the parking lot in Coventry, RI before I went in to eat:
What's the significance of these pictures? What's it all mean? What's it about? Easy questions to ask. Not so easy to answer. Why am I driven to make these pictures? Do I have an agenda? A political motive? Not particularly. I would rather leave their intent and their result a little open ended, for you to establish whether they hold meaning and significance for you, personally, or not.
I drove down to DC, shot a day and a half, drove back... in three days. The day after I got back? I made a few prints and rested, literally. I slept a lot. Watched a movie, went swimming, did some errands and not much else. It was nice to be home.
I spent three days last week photographing in Washington, DC at the Museum of Health and Medicine. I spent the first morning photographing many of the specimens on display. The staff helped unlock the glass doors so I didn't have to photograph dealing with reflections. I am in huge debt to Brian, Cailin and Amy, employees at the Museum, for all their help and assistance while I was there.
There are some really amazing things there. I spent a few hours photographing specimens and items on public display.
It takes about a day to drive from Boston to Washington. I like to drive but this has got to be one of the worst drives devised by man. Traffic getting out of Boston, traffic in Hartford, traffic approaching NY, traffic getting through NY, to say nothing about the NJ Turnpike. Trucks are what moves America these days and trucks are like highway trains moving massive amounts of goods. I don't need to tell you but for it to take over an hour to drive the 12 miles from my hotel to the Museum seems a little twisted. Just saying.
Day 2 is coming up in the next post as things get a little harder to deal with.
Seems ironic this artist is ranting about bad driving conditions when these people, yes people, are frozen in time, immortalized in their formalin containers, preserved for study and seldom seeing the light of day, as most are hidden back in the Museums' storage area. Most of these never breathed a breath of fresh air, never walked along a beach, never knew a cool glass of water, flew over mountains or watched a child take her first steps.
Heads up: Many of my earlier works from the Mutter Museum and Reggio Emilia, Italy will be on view at the next 555 Gallery show called "Devil's Promenade" with works by Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley. The show runs from October 10-November 8. For more information go to: 555 Gallery The opening reception isSaturday evening, October 11th. See you there.
Day 2 at NMHM. It gets a little harder.
A few weeks ago I was asked by Elin Spring if I would write a review of a show to post on her blog. I have done that, with pleasure, as her blog is wonderful and the show of photographs by Brian Kaplan is too.
The link to the review is:
Elin Spring Photography Blog