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The World Is My Camera 

Wednesday, Jun 1 2011
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Film is said to be a dying medium, and Christopher Colville took that to heart. He laid out a piece of photo paper and on it he placed a decomposing squid. The only light source was the natural phosphorescence given off by the animal as its body broke down. The result is a bizarre underwater dreamscape in black, blue, and white — like a San Jose Sharks logo on LSD. On several other photo sheets — we’re guessing he wanted to make sure the medium was dead — he put gunpowder and ignited it. The visual results are (literally) an explosion of gray, white, and brown. Through still another piece he shot a bullet. What was he doing? Several variations of cameraless photography for the exhibition “No Mirrors.” Photography without cameras goes back a long way. Dadaist and Surrealist Man Ray was among the early artists to use it by placing ordinary objects in front of chemically treated paper and then exposing it to light. Gallery director Ann Jastrab says she was expecting rudimentary things such as this but got a lot more. [[[TK]]] made what’s called a cyanotype (so named because its chemicals give it a blue hue) by placing a person and some vegetation on a 72-inch piece of photo paper. Jastrab says that even in direct midday sunlight, that was probably a 20-minute exposure, so the model had to be still for that amount of time. The model doesn’t appear to be stationary — in fact she appears to be flying through tree branches. Such surprises occur throughout the exhibit. “People really went for it,” she says. “It’s better than I could ever have imagined.” The squid, however, won’t be around to see it.
Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: June 16. Continues through Aug. 2, 2011

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Keith Bowers

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