5 PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM THE SKAGIT
April 30 - May 30
ERIC RIEDEL & BARRY CHRISTENSEN
Eric Riedel and Barry Christensen have been collaborating on pinhole photography for the past five years. Both artists are inspired and mentored by Janet Neuhauser, photographer and founder of The Pinhole Project (thepinholeproject.org). Eric began contributing steadily to The Pinhole Project in 2014. He introduced Barry to the technique a few years later. Eric and Barry began learning pinhole photography with a single-hole camera made from a recycled Altoid tin. Recognizing talented and enthusiastic pinhole converts, Janet sent the pair a new camera to try: a 4-hole color pencil tin.
Eric suggested collaborating with multi-hole exposures and imagery sourced from the surrounding Skagit Valley’s verdant landscape, farming vernacular and dramatic skies. Each collaborator selects specific holes for exposure, individual subjects, and exposure timeframe before passing the camera to the other, creating one image when all four holes are exposed. Typically, as the camera is passed from one to the other, the subject of the first exposure(s) is discussed and an attempt is made to play off that subject matter in subsequent exposures. This process has strengthened their personal friendship, and individual as well as collaborative eye and expression. The anticipation of each new image results in a special gift and documentation of a fleeting time and place.
All of the images in this exhibit were created with that 4-hole Prismacolor pencil tin camera.
For me, making images is about seeing, especially seeing with a softened gaze, my entrance to intuitive experience. As a photographer and poet, I want to suggest the glimmer of dream, memory, and metaphor. I want to convey the fragile, fleeting, ephemerality of our existence, a reminder of what we think is fixed is bound to disappear. I want to evoke a world beyond the literal.
For this work I use a camera fitted with a simple, non-lens optical device that softens the image, creates a bit of ambiguity, and infuses forms with a glow I think of as a glint of the numinous. My vision draws on early 20th century pictorial photographers whose images were painterly and poetic, imbued with subtle tonal and tactile aspects and soft focus that evoked a mood of dreaminess to stimulate the imagination.
I love the mystery and dark beauty these lensless images convey visually. And I love that I’m often surprised the prints reveal something that was not visible in the viewfinder.
Bullis’ artwork has often departed from traditional media, but in this exhibit, he presents traditional black and white gelatin silver prints from both lens and pinhole images. "I have been doing photography as a professional generalist and fine artist since 1963. I studied with Minor White in workshops and graduated in photography from San Francisco State. I worked as a freelancer for magazines, also shot in almost every imaginable still photographic format, up to 11x14, typically working with architecture and engineering.
In the mid 1970's, I became interested in pinhole photography, which is probably what I might be best known for. I was a contributor to Pinhole Journal, and my work is included in the New Mexico Palace of the Governors History Museum's Pinhole Resource Collection. I went back to the University of Washington for an MFA, finishing in 1991. My project in that effort was done using an eccentricly pinhole mounted in 4x5 or 8x10 cameras, having very wide angle, which require using the imagination as a viewfinder. The film was reloaded into the camera and arial light drawings were imposed upon the image using a flashlight moving through space. I still use this camera design because I find it deliciously challenging.
I love the beauty of traditional black and white silver prints, whether done with or without a lens. I still think of myself as primarily an amateur. "
Hand Painted Black & White Photographs
SPENT BOUQUET SERIES
These images were taken over time of flowers gathered from our Edison home gardens. Earlier this year I printed B&W images of the bouquets then painted them with watercolors. My intention is to capture the essence of beauty found in aging.
SUIATTLE RIVER TRAIL SERIES
I’ve always been a fan of Darius Kinsey’s early 20th century photographs of logging, mining, railroad and mill work that also documented magnificent ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest. Kinsey’s 11x14 B&W negatives were taken in remote locations then sent to his home studio by courier and developed by his wife, Tabitha. Occasionally she hand painted contact prints of the more picturesque forest scenes. These Suiattle River Forest prints represent my attempt to portray a remaining ancient forest using modern, digital technology combined with traditional painting.
Barry Christensen and Eric Riedel, September 24, 2019, pinhole image from 4 hole pencil tin processed by Janet Neuhauser, 12.25 x 12.25 in., 2019
Jane Alynn, Life in the foest, lens less camera, gelatin silver print, 21 x 17 in. , 2007.
Larry Bullis, Pleasant Creek Ranch, Capitol Reef, UT, gelatin silver print, 21 x 16 in. , 2018.
David Hall, Spent Bouquets: Mized Flowers, artist digital print hand painted in watercolor, 15.75 x 15.75 in. , 2020 - 2021.