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Peter's Picks of the Month

my ode to france
 by dan neuberger   

and in the East Gallery
El Campo: Images from Rural Mexico by Joseph Sorrentino

May 20 - June 14, 2009

Peter Marr picked his favorite photos of the show
by the featured and guest photographers and also describes the strength of the images he has chosen.


All images copyright by the individual photographers

It is entirely fitting that to celebrate the 50th exhibition at the Image City Photographic Gallery; the partners chose to showcase the work of a master photographer, namely, Dan Neuberger.  The end result is “Quintessential Neuberger” whether it is Paris, the Seine, or the French Riviera, Dan’s love for France comes shining through with his series of superb, intimate vignettes.  I use the work “intimate” profoundly, whether we are looking at a barge on the Seine, a red motorcycle on the sidewalk, sunbathers on the Quay, a view from a window, or people at the seaside or in a museum.  Capturing such a large canvas with a limited number of images is no simple task, yet Dan has accomplished this in exemplary fashion.  Artistically, he is without a peer, and in this exhibition he has further enhanced his excellent images by adding another dimension with the help of digital posterization techniques. To choose a favorite or two to comment on is extremely difficult, but I have done it, and I hope that you like my choices.

Mondrianewque Facade by Dan Neuberger

Mondrianesque Facade

by Dan Neuberger 

Firstly, the second print in the French Riviera series (1-5) really stands out for its incredible use of saturated colors and bold design. It is a unique image in that we see only vertical and horizontal lines, which are usually classed as stable and formal in our photographic books. No oblique lines to add dynamic thrust, no s-curves to add tranquility and movement. In this powerful image, we don’t need the latter two dimensions.  We have dramatic shapes, and we have the power that most affects the mind and body, namely, color. Even in black and white this would be an excellent image, but the inclusion of the highly saturated primaries, R,B and Y, with a touch of white thrown in, results in a truly memorable image. Your eye can go in or out at will, up or down the drainpipe, into or out of the barred window, and even into the shuttered window, but always we take in the whole scene, dramatic, sensual, high color and high drama, an image for the ages.


Paris Window by Dan Neuberger 


Paris Window

By Dan Neuberger

My second choice is Paris Window. This is an exquisitely beautifully seen, and photographed picture of a partial view   through an open window of a small segment of a three or four story apartment building. As lovely as the scene is, what really makes this image so exceptional and outstanding is the foreground with the unique shape of the partially-pulled drapes. There is even subtle detail in these curtains, which adds to the atmosphere of the picture, together with the inner blinds which are pulled back enough so that we only get a limited view of the scene beyond.  This narrowed view gives an added intimacy and excitement to the picture, which would not be present if the blinds were fully drawn. This narrowed view is truly powerful, and adds a profound sense of mystery and “awareness”. The orange roof in the foreground might be a mild distraction to some because of its high color value, but I just love it as it is. This is a beautiful image, imaginatively seen and taken. Dan, I just enjoyed visiting every print in your outstanding exhibition.

Pablo by Joseph Sorrentino

By Joseph Sorrentino

It is a distinctive privilege to see and study the unique images of Joseph Sorrentino. His powerful portraits have a vibrancy and poignancy that truly captures the intimacy and vitality of people who live and work in a clearly impoverished area of rural Mexico.  We can certainly envision the arduous work, the long hours toiled for small monetary rewards that employers can hardly afford to pay, but we can also see dedication, contentment, and a feeling of pride for a job well done.  I have chosen the superb portrait of Pablo as one of my “picks”, because besides being an outstanding image in its own right, to me it is especially significant, in that it represents the hopes but not failures of his and every generation to follow.

Photographically and artistically, it is one of the finest portraits that I have had the honor to review. One has to admire the ingenuity and practicality of using bottle caps to help secure the structural siding, recycling at its finest, and of course it provides a definitive and somewhat humorous border for Pablo, as he intently looks out of the open window frame.  The soft lighting illuminates his wonderfully entrancing expression, whilst his soulful eyes reach out to captivate our innermost thoughts. With Pablo’s hand powerfully gripping and representing the present time, he reveals to us that although he is ever mindful of who and where he is, his real thoughts are for a better future.  He knows that he alone cannot do it, but he wants to be an instrument of change, to help both himself, his family and friends, and hopefully even his nation become more enlightened and prosperous.  Both he and we know that it will be through hard work, diligence, love and determination.  These attributes are all there in his community, and I am confident that sometime in the future, Pablo’s goals will be realized.  We wish him the best, and sincerely thank Joseph Sorrentino for showing us these remarkable images.

Living Room by Scott Hendershot
Dining Room

By Scott Hendershot

There are eight truly great chromogenic prints by Scott in this exhibition, and I have been fortunate to learn about how these images were photographically constructed.  I am not going to discuss what technique(s) were used, but the end result is that we can all enjoy and marvel at these great “Black and White” prints.  All of these images involve looking beyond what you see at first sight, whether it is through a door, a hallway or following a shaft of light into an area or world that only ourselves can imagine, or want to imagine.  They are technically superb, with full tonal ranges from black to white that includes also great shadow detail. I would like to comment on all of them, for they are all great, but I chose the Dining Room because of the added drama and mystery of the title. In this print, the lighting , tonal gradations and detail are just exquisite, and like myself, I hope all of the viewers want to go through the open door and envisage what is beyond. The light reflections, shapes and forms on the far wall are truly magical, and provide an intriguing background as we direct our eyes to the framed prints leaning against the wall. We are also aware of the unframed photographs on the single chair we can see in the “dining room”. Did the author deliberately put the prints where we can see them? Are there more prints around the corner? Is the intention to hang these prints on the wall? and so on. Each viewer must visualize his own scenario, including such obvious questions as- How large is the room beyond? Is it going to become a photographic showplace? Is this, or was this room really a dining room? - the title says it is. Most of these questions may seem superfluous, but after acknowledging that the author has presented us with wonderful images, beautifully seen, captured, and printed, it is pertinent I think to look beyond why we enjoy these prints so much. I certainly enjoy the mystery and excitement of looking beyond the obvious.  What do these prints mean and say to you? I just hope that everyone who looks intently at Scott’s portfolio at the Gallery will admire them for their technical brilliance, for their power and greatness, and then go beyond this stage to see where it may lead you.


Waiting at the Market by Lynda Howland


Waiting at the Market
By Lynda Howland

Camera Rochester is proudly represented by five excellent prize-winning images, all of which I would love to comment on, but as I am restricted to only one choice, I have selected Lynda’s superb environmental portrait, not only because it is a great picture, but because it makes a powerful statement in today’s uncertain world. Technically and artistically the image is truly exceptional, one could not have set up and posed this candid scene any better, even if one were on a movie set, or in a studio with unlimited facilities with a plethora of suitable models. What we wondrously see is a venerable man sitting in the back seat of an old disused vehicle, possibly a taxi cab, a person who is intently waiting for someone or something, or possibly he is taking in the whole marketplace vista.  His incredible expression, his piercing eyes, his arched hand with the neatly manicured nails, together with the “non-pristine” quality of his jacket and turban and the absence of his front teeth, all suggest a long, hard, and economically poor life.  Yet this is a proud and strong man, who still yearns for a better life for his family and nation. The marketplace is an ideal venue to look at people very much like himself, of people who were never given a better chance in life, people with little hope, few possessions, where even hard work would not enhance their lot in life. He can clearly see himself in these people, and realizes that economic times will probably change very little. “If only” would be foremost in his thoughts and in his acute gaze. He was never given the chance to be rich and “notable”, yet he knows in himself that he certainly is “notable”. He understands that he has done the very best job he could given his circumstances, and he is justly proud of his accomplishments.  He sincerely hopes that a large number of the people in the marketplace will get a better chance in life, and I hope that his vision and hope will eventually become realization.  Viewers should sincerely thank Lynda for this moving, poignant portrait. Great job.

Image City Photography Gallery  ♦   722 University Avenue  ♦    Rochester, NY 14607 ♦ 585.271.2540
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