November 30, 2007
When I was a kid one of things that made photography so compelling was the idea that it was a way to fold time. I dabbled with long exposures, double exposures, photographs of the same exact spot on different days, etc etc. Later I became a light junkie... sometimes spending days scoping out a place to find the exact time when the light would be just right-obsessing over the exact film stock to record the blue of my grandmother's front wall when it was first illumated with morning sun. After that I became emotion obsessed and so on and so on... I imagine most beginning photographers go through some similar trajectory. This comes to mind because today I was looking at the work of 2 photographers who have distilled their work down to time and light. Both work with a camera on a tripod and a mirror to make their images.
Photographers who shoot long exposures and light trails are a dime a dozen, but Tokihiro Sato's shothe manages to create light that feels organic and mysterious. Many of his images remind me of fireflies (they remind me Crewdson's firefly pictures more than actual fireflies) or of childhood imaginings of sprites and woodland ghosts.
Julianne Swartz makes similarly lyrical images using the same basic tools as Sato. Her Placement series is a project in which she shoots photos of hands holding mirrors reflecting the opposite horizon. I saw a few of them at Mixed Greens recently and they've stuck with me. If you're in Manhattan you should check them out.