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Photography and Time

August 16th - October 17th


Eadweard Muybridge, The horse in motion, California Palo Alto, ca. 1878. Photograph.

Years ago I remember a friend telling me that she was just killing time in her current job. Even now, that seems so brutal…

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. As I get older, I am faced with an internal shift from thinking of time as unlimited, to now understanding how fleeting it really is...and that we all have a “sell by” date. We talk about time in so many ways: time is on my side, time waits for no man (the rest of us apparently get a pass), time is relentless, passing, priceless, it can be wasted and saved, we use it, spend it…it’s both endless and it slips through our hands.  As a child I remember how long the summer days felt in June,  while by August they seem to be passing by with growing speed.


Time is one of the foundational mechanics of photography and, because of the ability to control time, it’s a discipline that has enlarged our capacity to see beyond our own eyes. It can blend and freeze time and in both cases create imagery that we cannot see in any other way. An early example is the above Eadweard Muybridge movement study, initially created to win a bet on whether a race horse's feet ever completely left the ground. There is this interesting river that flows from those 1878 motion studies, through "Doc" Edgerton's beautifully frozen splash of milk crown (1957), landing us in the lap of The Matrix's bullet time (1999) as it blurs the line between stills and film. This essential role was one reason I wanted to use time is a theme for a showcase.


Mitchell Family Album, photographer unknown

Another, equally engaging reason was the gift of a window into the past. "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain" (Blade Runner 1982) was meaningful because we all could understand the desire for more time.  In a way, photography gives us more time, by allowing us to see into the past and not just our own. Recently I was working on my family tree and came across this photograph of my Dad (looking like trouble) as a young man with his sisters.  I never met them, all I have is this captive instant for clues to who they were and what part of them is in me.

So, I looked to find an interesting range in the six photographers featured here. Utilizing the mechanics of photography, several artists have transcended the technical to create magical moments: from insomnia-driven wanderings, to examining what happens even before you shoot, to creating floating, ephemeral sculptures in the air. Exploring memory and the passage of time, several artists examine that experience and the sense of longing the journey can leave us with. Throughout the showcase you will find unique voices examining our relationship to time.


Although Ornithographies is a current project, it has a somewhat distant origin, since it is born from the innocent and restless gaze of the child I once was. My admiration for nature, especially for birds, arose during my childhood thanks to unforgettable long walks with my grandfather. Since then, my interest in birds has continued to grow, eventually becoming the focus of this project.

My concern is to capture those unnoticed moments and from the interest in questioning the limits of human perception. Photography allows me to capture in a single time frame, the shapes they generate when flying, making visible the invisible. Here, the skill envied by men, the long lasting shared yearning of flying, is presented to us, extending our visual perception and resulting in organic form images that stimulate the imagination.

Technology, science and creativity combine to create evocative images which show the sensuality and beauty of the bird’s movements and which are, at the same time, clues for those wishing to identify or recognize them. These images are no longer a single portrait of reality but become a witness of the instants that, for a moment, were past, present and future all at once.

Ornithographies is a balance between art and science; a nature-based dissemination project and a visual poetry exercise but above all, an invitation to perceive the world with the same curious and innocent look of the child we once were.

© Xavi Bou,  All Rights Reserved

Laura Dodson


The moments I am composing here are memories in a box, intimate narratives meant to be fluid, and prone to perpetual redefinition. The processes I experiment with include montage of old and new photographs for the layering of alternate states, abstraction to emphasize an edgy suspension between reality and dream, and a reliance on water, on its visual patterns and surprises.

Vintage photographs present themselves as displaced and vulnerable environments. I incorporate their creases and tears, the notes jotted behind them, all wrinkles expressing invaluable character and a window through time. I choreograph an array of found objects alongside them in the hope of giving them new breath. Water added to the composition provides a filter that is malleable and suggestive of the irrational. For me it supports recreated memory in all its romantic volatility.

Desire, unease, nostalgia and transformation are some of the clashing themes I hope to address in these hybrid allegories.

© Laura Dodson,  All Rights Reserved

Roberto Fernández-Ibáñez

Before the Beginning

Human beings feel proud of having control over subjects and situations. Intellectual and technological activities point in that direction, and art is not an exception. Artists choose a topic, tools and techniques, and then try to integrate elements and ideas with a systematic method or by improvisation.

We photographers express feelings and emotions either by capturing vanishing instants or by constructing something we imagined. And even if we press the shutter button randomly, what we get is caused by a premeditated action.

But occasionally something happens to me during the most trivial and innocent photographic act: loading my camera with light sensitive material. Only later my will commands. But what happened before that crucial moment?

Like a forgotten guest, Light surreptitiously enters through the back of my old camera and is received by the first few inches of film. I realize that I am just a secondary protagonist: before the beginning of the roll, before the beginning of any act of will, Light was there like an always present specter.

And when Light expresses itself, it creates images without my intervention. These photographs are ghosts of something that never existed. Aesthetic considerations aside, their message is present each time I take a roll of film, a delicate material sensitive both to Light and to my touch.

Just like a ritual I will follow preserving those portions of film that precede my photographic actions and an artist’ arrogance, and I will let Light to continue showing me the way.

Technique: film, selenium toned, silver gelatin fiber based prints.

© Roberto Fernández-Ibáñez, All Rights Reserved

Michael Massaia

Afterlife 1 New Jersey Shore 2008 - 2012

I started documenting Central Park (Deep in a Dream, Central Park 2008-2019) back in 2007 as way of coping with severe insomnia.  I would commonly take long walks at night, and the park always seemed to be calling me in.  I set out to document the park at its most vacant, isolating, and at times, haunting moments.

In 2008, I started to document the amusement piers that skirt the New Jersey Coastline during their most vacant moments (usually between the hours of 4 and 6am).  The images were predominantly shot on the Funtown and Casino Piers in Seaside Park & Seaside Heights New Jersey.  In 2012, Hurricane Sandy rolled in and completely destroyed both piers. The landscape was forever altered. These images chronicle the final days of these piers, as well as what remained of the piers after the hurricane.

Afterlife 2 New Jersey Shore 2006 - 2016

Afterlife 3 New Jersey Shore 2019 - 2021

I started the Afterlife 3 series in late winter/early spring-2020 and worked on this series all through the virus when everything was shut down and when these towns/amusement piers started to try an open again this summer.  I completed the series a few weeks ago- (just about one year after I started it).  

These amusement towns/shore communities in New Jersey seemed like the last free places on earth.  They took on an eerie (almost romantic) stance in the face of all the turmoil surrounding them. I found this time reminiscent of when I was younger and would hang out on the boardwalk all night.  There was this beautiful mixture of danger, freedom, unpredictability, that gave way to an odd type of romance.  There was always an undercurrent of sadness, but it was gorgeous type of sadness....

Like with most of my series these days, this series was all shot using a 5"x7" view camera, black and white film developed in pyro, and I handmake the final prints as split toned (Iron, Selenium, Bleached/Selenium) and tinted (which can include oils and dyes) gelatin silver.  I still do all the work myself.

© Michael Massaia, All Rights Reserved

Jane Paradise

"When I Was Young, I Was Beautiful"

Norma Holt was a ninety-four year-old prominent New York and Provincetown, MA, photographer who continued to actively pursue her art and enjoy all of what life brought her until she passed in June of 2013. Through Norma I am telling the universal story about aging and how one person creates a meaningful life with deteriorating physical state.

When Norma was young she was beautiful. Norma was an inspiration. She was someone who thought and created and transformed her work and devised new projects. She loved life irrespective of the physical challenges that aging brought her.

This body of work is an intimate portrait of an independent creative spirit who also photographed artists. This portrait of Norma's later life (from 89 years old on) is told both through words and photographs. The words are serendipitous "Norma Wisdom", hopes, desires and longings. Her words are interspersed amongst imagery depicting Norma herself: a consummate artist and fierce soul.

In Norma's world there was never a dull moment and retirement was NOT an option.

I first met Norma in the summer of 2007 when she and I were both, by chance, visiting the Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown. We struck up a conversation that began a friendship, a photography project, and a journey for us both that continues to the end of her life.

Norma passed away on July 12, 2013 at 94 years old.

© Jane Paradise, All Rights Reserved

© Mo Verlaan, All Rights Reserved

The Memory of Time

The Memory of Time is a study about the plasticity of time and light. For me there is a strong correlation between the impermanence of light and the fluidity of time. The Japanese word for space: Ma, describes it best: it suggests an interval, a gap or pause in time, an emptiness in space.

The Memory of Time explores time and light through abstract spaces that cannot be deciphered immediately. They invite an altered state of perception individual to each viewer. To me, nearly all my images contain the same core: the mysterious voids in our subconscious that defy language and interpretation. Architectural structures inspire me most, where light can fleet in and out, seemingly creating new spaces.

To me light is both a tangible and evanescent medium, if not a language. By fading, moulding and carving the light in my photographs, I transform their reality and move the images into an imaginative and intuitive realm. The process involves composing layered images that nearly look like drawings or paintings, scraping off the innate realism that is part of photography, thus creating a more sensorial and subliminal world.

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