Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Erik Hansen's photos of brilliance and wonder

As the crowd was thinning out and leaving the opening reception of Ballad of Life, I noticed a lone gentleman studying my photos. Naveed, our curator, asked me to speak to him and so I went over and introduced myself. We got to talking about photography and our own goals and ideals in the medium. Turns out, we had a lot in common. We exchanged cards and I promised I'd take a look at his work.

You gotta check this guy's work out.

I-Scape 12 "The Wolf Grows Up in the Woods" by Erik Hansen

It's really stunning. He creates these landscapes that seem to capture time and space with a masterful control of light and composition. However, this technical description betrays the actual aesthetic of his work. His compositions evoke something within me, a sense of wonder and curiosity. I feel like I'm looking at how children or Zen monks view the world.

Erik calls his artwork "I-Scapes". Says Erik:
I-Scapes (IMAGINARY TIMESCAPES) represent mysterious places and states of mind that exist somewhere beyond the ordinary conscious world. Humans, animals, or their spirits may have recently passed within their borders.
This might be one of the reasons why Erik and I have a similar aesthetic appreciation. It's clear to me that we have a similar need to express some of these concepts in our work.

He also does a lot of prep work for his photos. Keep in mind, none of his photos are digitally altered.
I sculpt pieces and paint props and backgrounds. I also gather and reassemble found objects. The hands-on, tactile part of the process is particularly satisfying.
I couldn't agree more. While I have nothing against working in Photoshop to alter and manipulate images, it is my opinion that there is something special about being able to create the world you are trying to capture in the camera frame itself. It's a great sense of accomplishment, and it does translate to your audience.

Photo © Erik Hansen

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ballad of Life, Opening Reception

The opening reception was amazing. I couldn't have imagined a larger turnout. This isn't about bragging, this is about my bewilderment and being absolutely grateful for the fact that between 200 and 300 people were interested in checking out our work between 2 and 4 pm last Sunday. In reality, there were already about 50 people in the gallery at 1:45.

In case you didn't know, I am in a group exhibition right now called The Ballad of Life. It closes February 29th. You can check it out on the third floor Contemporary Art Gallery located at, of all places, the Armenian Library & Museum of America in Watertown, MA.

360ยบ VR Panospin™ of me talking to Erik Hansen in front of my work
Photo © 2008 Carlton SooHoo

I have six pieces in the show from an ongoing series I call Personal Mythology. However, for this show, I call this initial group of photos "What I Remember". The work is related to dreams and memories from childhood up to recent time. My focus is primarily on how we tend to romanticize and dramatize events, and sometimes treat dreams as real events as well. This mixture of dreams and events become real concepts to us and become a part of our personal lexicon, but more importantly personal mythology.

The name of our group is PhotoEmerge. It was founded by our curator Naveed Nour and officially began in early 2007 as a workshop in the business of photography. I'm proud to say I'm a member of the "first class" so-to-speak, as PhotoEmerge will continue as a group collaborative with old members leaving and new members renewing its existence.

Other members that also showed were Kate Russell-Jones, George Libbares, Jason Jedrusiak, Melanie Thornton and Marcus Stern.