By Andrea Pflaumer
"Bedrooms," SF photographer Andrew Conway-McClintock's new one-man exhibit, opens May 2nd at the Bluesix Acoustic Room in the Mission. The show reveals a series of eighteen 20x20 color portraits taken in the bedrooms of people he describes as “artist/alternative youth.” Unlike similarly-themed images by (for example) photographer Adrienne Salinger, whose work has sometimes been branded as exploitative, Conway-McClintock portrays his subjects in an almost reverential light. “I give them respect and let them own the space,” he explains, “it’s more about the interaction between us...the actual shoot is an experience in itself... a conversation.”
These pictures are intriguing for the subjects alone, but also for how their 'stuff' reflects or is in contrast to the face they show the world. The first poignant portrait is of Brittney Lee Murphy, a lovely tow-headed performance artist, filmmaker and photographer - and to whom the book of the photos is dedicated - who overdosed at 21.
Conway-McClintock picked up his first camera, literally, next to a canal in Amsterdam while on a vacation with his mother at the age of nine: "I was eating a herring sandwich at the time" he says drolly. His first attempt at black and white photography, at the age of 13, were inspired by no less than Henry Cartier Bresson's joyful, kinetic black and white images. But environmental portraitist Arnold Newman and cultural recordist Richard Avedon also reverberate through his work. After a year at the Brooks School of Photography in Santa Barbara, he returned to San Francisco to complete his BA at the SF Art Institute.
At 24, he's already hit the ground running, participating in a dizzying number of local and international festivals, including “Destroy Everything” in Brooklyn, New York and “Joy Ride” in New York, Paris and London. This year he participates again in that show, part of the Bicycle Film Festival, to be held in San Francisco, LA, Toronto and Tokyo.
“I see [photography] as a way for me to have a conversation with the medium’s roots and history” he explains. “It’s a way to figure out my human experience.”
“Bedrooms” Solo Show, by Andrew Conway-McClintock, Bluesix Acoustic Room,
3042 24th Street at Treat, San Francisco. May 2 (music and refreshments)
through June 1.