Photography and Time

August 16th - October 17th

 

Eadweard Muybridge, The horse in motion, California Palo Alto, ca. 1878. Photograph.http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print

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_birthday.jpg

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.