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Trick of the Light 

Wednesday, Sep 22 2010
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Photographer Tokihiro Sato routinely spends a lot of time in front of his own lens. But what he shoots are not self-portraits. In fact, you don’t see him at all. Rather, you see what he puts there in the form of light. By keeping the shutter open — sometimes for as long as three hours — he is able to add multiple pinpricks of light to the subjects in the camera’s viewfinder. During daytime shoots, he uses a mirror to reflect sunlight back into the lens. At night or indoors, he “draws” with a flashlight. The camera is set to capture Sato’s movement but not his form. The results are stark, meditative black-and-white images that convey a metaphysical quality. His current exhibit, “Trees,” depicts not only vegetation but also at least one rural structure, a seascape, and an urban street corner; the photos in the exhibition were created in 2008 and 2009 in two mountain ranges on the Japanese island of Honshu. In some, the groupings of light appear to orbit their subjects, while in others they appear to flow like small elevated rivers. All have motion, though, and they suggest what they literally represent — scenes we humans inhabit but can’t see simply because we’re moving too fast.
Sept. 9-Oct. 23, 2010

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Keith Bowers

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