Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The World Is My Camera 

Wednesday, Jun 1 2011
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

About The Author

Keith Bowers


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"