“The Perimeter of the World: Contemporary Travel Photography”
at RayKo Photo Center August 6 through September 3.
The pieces in the exhibition — juried by Judy Walgren, director of photography for the San Francisco Chronicle
, and Ann Jastrab, the Gallery Director at RayKo — include the works of 60 contemporary travel photographers who documented sweeping landscapes, perilous mountaintop views, dwellings, human and animal subjects, food, and political strife. As far as can be gauged from just a selection of the photographs, the only limitation Walgren and Jastrab put on the photos were their inclusion in the “travel” genre. This liberality creates a compelling series that avoids drawing reductive conclusions but simply marvels at the natural and man-made world. In a richly colored work by Anirudha (Robi) Chakraborty, a dozen sari-wearing women and assorted children crammed into a tiny vehicle glower at the two men in the shot as well as the camera. A striking shot by Joyce Lopez gives viewer the perspective of having just climbed a snow-strewn mountain, the instrument of ascension, a bright red ladder, still visible.
Jastrab says that inspiration for the exhibition came from reflection on an old travel journal. “Inside the cover is one phrase written in my tiny scrawl: ‘The diffused edge of the world.’ Also inside, two Polaroids: one black & white, of a man I almost married. One color, of the man I left him for the year I traveled the perimeter of the Indian Ocean ... And one folded contact sheet of a group of fisherman lit by the dusk sacrificing a goat to thank the gods for a great catch.”
As the Gallery Director of RayKo, a “comprehensive photographic facility,” which functions both as an exhibition space and a photo processing location, Jastrab knows well the financial pressures that can inhibit an artist’s ability to produce great works. In their juried exhibition Jastrab and Walgren tried to answer the question” “What drives [travel photographers] to lug a 4x5 into the mountains or to buy 100 rolls of film for a trip or to rent expensive dream lenses for their digital cameras or to download every picture on their smartphone so they can capture limitless images?”
In a field that offers few tangible rewards for such artistic tenacity, Walgren and Jastrab’s exhibition, featuring local talent Monica Denevan, is a gift to those of us who haven't made it to the perimeter of the world quite yet.
The opening reception for the exhibition is August 6 from 6-8 p.m. at RayKo Photo Center (428 Third St.), and “The Perimeter of the World: Contemporary Travel Photography,” runs every day from Aug. 6-Sept. 3, and the entrance is free.
Along with ice-cream tester and rock star, travel journalist is among the most desired dream jobs. We can assure you that journalism doesn’t pay that well, so keep your day job and travel no farther than Third Street to experience as much geographic diversity as a Jules Verne character with