After so many tragic shootings we should stand together but we’ve never been so divided. To feel safe some want no guns, others want to carry guns everywhere. Is bearing arms the only way to be safe? This photographic project imagines how this might look at work, at school, or at play. A proposed exhibit would challenge us with a simple question about guns; is this what people want or do we have a right to be safe without them?
Are guns really empowering or are we giving in to fear? By making guns so easily accessible in the interest of protection are we creating the very circumstance we're trying to avoid? Are we arming ourselves because we're arming ourselves?
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Photographs can change minds. It's time for the conversation to lead to a transformation.
This group exhibition surveys photography and includes several different takes on the medium. Artists include Eleanor Antin, Becky Cohen, Ernesto Corte, Sol Hill, Pablo Mason, Michele McCain, Major Morris, Arthur Ollman, Philipp Scholz Rittermann, Nadia Salameh, Richard Slechta, and selections from the Museum of Photographic Arts. The Show will run September 30 through November 12, 2017.
I'd like to thank Leah Goodwin, director of the Museum, and Beth Marino, the museum exhibition supervisor, as well as the entire staff at the museum for hanging an excellent show. I'd also like to thank them for staging the panel discussion. It was a privilege to participate in the lively conversation with the audience and the other artists who attended.
The camera is often compared to the human eye. The most obvious similarity between the two is the lens, which gathers light, and focuses an image onto the eye’s retina, or in the case of the camera, onto film, or a digital sensor. So while there are some obvious parallels between the eye and the camera, does the camera serve the eye, or is it the other way around?
The camera, with it's unique ability to capture and preserve indelible images is actually more an extension of our mind, enabling us to see things otherwise unobservable. The images created by a camera are rich in detail that can be endlessly examined and recalled, and in effect complement and inform the visual memories captured by the eye and stored in our mind. Without cameras and the photographic images they create we would be bereft of a vast understanding of the world around us, our personal histories, and that or our friends, family, and fellow human beings. If you consider that this visual understanding would be impossible without cameras, a large extent of our visual awareness has become dependent on a device. We may cringe at the thought of robotic implants, but cameras, and especially now as iPhones, are as close as this could be without being surgically attached.
We are so enamored to this device that we forget how useless it is without the eye to guide it or contemplate its gifts. Inevitably we forget that seeing, and photographing, while analogous, are distinct. We might miss the experience of seeing if we are manically habituated to photographing everything around us. We trade the experience of living in the moment for the deferred experience of looking at photographs of the moment. Photographers are driven to experiencing life behind a camera. The imperative of capturing the moment becomes the moment. To live that moment without photographing it becomes a lost opportunity. In an effort to capture an experience we actually miss it. The ephemeral nature of reality, with all of it’s synonymous components is at once too evanescent for us to grasp, too ordinary in it’s natural light for us to appreciate. The camera can be a key to a visual experience that is almost limitless, a translation of what the eye sees into a world created and intuited by the mind. The question becomes do we live more fully by seeing with the eye or with the camera. It’s a cliche that your photographs will only be as good as the extent to which you immerse yourself into the life of what you are photographing. The effort to document an immersive experience by producing a selfie may be the ultimate irony. You can’t actually share the experience of being somewhere, but you can miss the experience by doing so.
Finally, a note on why a picture from the Eiffel tower will never look the same as what you saw while you were there. Our eyes allow us to see the world through two stereoscopic, normal focal length lenses that give us a panoramic, near 360 degree view of the world without a frame. This is an immersive experience unparalleled by any camera. To obstruct this view by raising your iPhone to your face is like swimming under water with a mask; you’re attempting to view the immensity of what is in front of you by peering through a tiny box.
There has been much talk and excitement about drones. The sentiment from the public ranges from indifference and curiosity to indignation and alarm. People who normally embrace emerging technologies will suddenly feel uneasy when confronted by an overhead drone. Ironically, significant safety issues aren't the reason. People are more concerned about aerial trespassing even though they are happy to post much more about their lives on social media than an overhead drone could ever capture. Maybe there is something more primal at work, something more instinctual that creates a sense of insecurity. Is it just that being observed from the sky doesn't feel right? Is this the human equivalent of a hawk and a rodent? You might say it's all in the eye of the beholder.
To the photographer or videographer operating the drone, having a flying camera lets you get shots you could never do before, even from an airplane or helicopter.
The drone is a technological marvel, combining aeronautics, computing, and digital photography, with global positioning and wifi communication. The result is a sophisticated flying camera that can be used by anyone with a few extra bucks and an avid curiosity. The medium has opened new avenues to capture every day realities, and the constantly changing environment.
The beauty of timely aerial photography is a unique view of our activities and our collective footprint that is otherwise fleeting, and largely unobserved.
People gather to watch the sunset over Mission Bay
The new Alpine Library
To view additional exterior and interior images visit my features page.
Design - build Team
Manuel Oncina Architects, Design Architect
FPBA, Architect of Record, Phil Pape, Principal in Charge, Project Architect: Amanda Schulz, Interior Designer: Ann Shelton
Structural Engineer: Hope-Amundson Structural Engineers, Project Engineer: Clint Etzel
Mechanical Engineer: McParlane & Associates, Project Engineer: John McGee
Electrical Engineering: ELEN, Project Engineer: Anton Nathanson, Lighting: Stéphane Beauvais
Landscape Architecture: VDLA, Principal in Charge: Mitch Philippe, Landscape Architect: Bret Allen
Design-Build Contractor: CW Driver
Principal in Charge: Andy Feth, Project Manager: Matt Christensen, Superintendent: Will House