Once upon a time I had wanted to go to art college to do illustration. And it always confused my dad that I wouldn’t go to art galleries.
“How can you be an artist but not go and see art, learn from other people?”
Honestly, I just found it really boring.
But now, I have an idea of what I like. I like quirky art. Street art (graffiti). Animation. Photography.
So, on Wednesday I found a random free photography exhibition that I thought I’d check out.
Figured a bit of culture, a free beer, if its crap at least I tried it. What can go wrong?
The gamble worked.
Is a collective of artists who work out of a studio in the Lower East Side.
Every Wednesday night they stay open late and present an exhibit, where the artist comes along to mingle and explain what they did.
This week it was “Disposable”.
The artists were sent out with a disposable camera, each person had a week to take one photo.
The idea was to highlight the juxtaposition between digital and film photography.
With digital you can take 50 photos and only use one. Post it online for the world to see and it is permanent – although you are likely to forget it exists. The camera does most of the work for you, picks up on light, has a flash, etc.
With film. Especially disposable. You have one shot. You can’t see it and edit the position, change the lighting. You have to wait weeks until it’s developed and then it’s a hit or a miss whether it worked or not. And then you only have the physical photo.
Even better, the photos were all in black and white.
One of the artists was discussing the trouble they had choosing what to shoot. With only one shot it was one of the hardest, most over thought decisions.
Using a disposable camera was an eye opener for a lot of them. They forgot how delicate the camera was to light. No longer having auto focus or a good flash.
So a lot of photos just didn’t work. They were fully black, or smudged.
One of the ideas they tried to go for, was looking at some of the first photos ever taken. Photos of mundane things, like buying an apple.
Trying to replicate them in modern day life. Something that will be of interest in another 100 years.
I spent about 40 minutes just walking back and forward, looking at the blown up prints on the wall and chatting to the artists.
Every time I looked back at a photo I would notice something different that I hadn’t picked up on before.
My favourite was a photo that on first glance was just black. Hadn’t worked.
Looking at it again, a little closer, there was a glint of light. Picking up on the side of two faces.
Bright white teeth, smiles, and cheek bones.
So simple, and accidental.
I think this may be a new Wednesday night activity.