Big Up

Slow Down, Square Up, 40×40″ each, Durham Arts Council, 2011

I miss big photographs. We seldom have the opportunity to stand upright and consider a moment, permanently affixed to paper and suspended on a wall large enough that you can walk up close to zoom in and find details and expressions that you would have otherwise missed finger flipping on the tiny smartphone screens we now find ourselves hunched over everyday. My preference for big prints and exhibits may be anachronistic, but there’s real magic and honesty in the experience of sharing space with a photograph of that size.

All that being said, the cost and preparation for a photography exhibit is incredibly prohibitive — unless you have support from a gracious patron or public space to go really big.  My fellow Independent Weekly photographer, Jeremy M. Lange, and I managed to find both to help create our shared photography exhibit Beyond the Deadlines. The local Durham Arts Council provided the public space and our employer, an alternative weekly newspaper no less, gave us tremendous support and the freedom to print big.

Our ace framer, Roylee Duval, turned over his shop to us in order to get everything done.

Starting in July of 2010, Jeremy and I began working on this exhibit and book (yes, there’s a book). We started in ernest by editing down over 400 of our favorite images from the past four years of work at the Independent Weekly to create a compelling case for community-based photojournalism as fine art. Removed from their original context next to articles and ads within the yellowing pages of the Independent Weekly, these photographs have been beautifully printed and carefully sequenced, which allows them to inform one another in surprising ways and provide a complex view of the communities and stories we have experienced through our lenses. The resulting edit of 32 photographs offers viewers our most honest and thought-provoking images and projects for their consideration. All of the prints and the exhibition catalog are for sale in limited editions.

Exactly how striking are the photographs in this exhibit? Well fortunately for you I have learned how to create an animated .gif file to demonstrate it’s effect on viewers when seen in person.

State Fair Kaleidoscope 1 & 2, (animated exhibition form)

Not doing it for you? Well then, get on down to the Durham Arts Council before May 15 ( map ) to check out the prints in person. If Durham is too far then you might want to consider getting a copy of the catalog, which took nearly as much effort as the show and will keep a lot easier than finding room for a 40×40″ print on your wall. The catalog was printed by MagCloud in New York in a limited run of 225 and is a wonderful thing to have and to hold. Each one is signed and numbered by myself and Mr. Lange and features a forward by Tom Rankin, Director of The Center For Documentary Studies at Duke University.

The editing process for the Beyond the Deadlines catalog, January, 2011

The finished catalogs, waiting to be signed, May 17th, 2011

Lastly, Jeremy and I will be on WUNC’s The State of Things at noon next Thursday, May 5th, to discuss the exhibit and our work at the Independent Weekly if you are inclined to know more about this project. This exhibit could not have happened without the tremendous support of our family, friends and the Independent Weekly — thank you.

Beyond the Deadlines, exhibit installation, 2011

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