The Photographic Resource Center displays some of its resources
Steven Duede photographed abandoned gas stations along Interstate 70 between St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo. The passage of time here is quite long in duration and clearly illustrated. The austerity is underlined by the four color photographs without a mat and with black frames. The sky becomes a sort of frame for the buildings. A few of them, with the pumps and outbuildings removed, almost look like pavilions – celebratory structures – until they are examined more closely. There is another twist on duration. With their lack of ornament and their flat roofs, the buildings are products of the modern movement. How odd, then, to think of something consciously modern as now totally obsolete.
Faith Ninivaggi also uses the sky as a framing device in the most striking of her five photographs in the exhibition. It’s called “The Quarries” and shows three young men near Quincy Quarries. He has a sense of mystery, befitting Ninivaggi’s preoccupation in each of the photographs with the perplexities of Generation Z as its members endure such a strange and unsettling time. “The mother in me has become increasingly concerned about this younger generation,” she writes, “the increasingly curious photojournalist.”
The four black and white photographs of Eric Nichols are literally close to home. They show him and his wife, Brittany, in their backyard and in their home during the early months of the pandemic. Domestic confinement mirrors confinement in the frame. The events recorded by Nichols (what a look he has!) are fairly mundane: a haircut, the couple sharing a coffee, washing their hands, standing in a doorway. Yet seeing them in the context of 2020, they take on a disturbing gravity.
Suzanne R.starThe triptychs in four colors of vy are far removed from highways, teenagers and domestic life. They record landscapes in and around Concord, with no human labor to be seen. The weather here is seasonal. The interaction of each image in the triptychs corresponds to the additional interaction in each photograph of space and openness with the tangibility of trunk and branch.
“When Time Passes” has an additional objective. All four photographers are PRC volunteers and the show honors their contributions. Another type of contribution is expected with “From the Vault”. The 29 photographs come from PRC funds, with their sale serving as fundraising.
Potential buyers will not look for their checkbooks out of simple good citizenship. There are some great deals here, with some great photography by well-known artists – among them Harold Edgerton, Carl Chiarenza, Emmet Gowin, Patti Smith (yes, the singer, and she’s a talented photographer).
Bridge Gallery owner Greig Cranna curated the exhibition. It sets up many visual conversations. A landscape by Gowin next to that by Neal Rantoul. An abstraction of Chiarenza next to the landscapes of Bradford Washburn and Vittorio Sella, in which nature is so overwhelming that the images border on abstraction. Note the astonishing pettiness of the two canoeists of the Washburn.
Nothing in the exhibition can match the power of photography from Susan Meiselas’ “Carnival Strippers” series. If that look on the kid’s face isn’t at least a little heartbreaking, you might want to consider seeing your cardiologist. The expressions on the faces of the men in the audience are heartbreaking in a very different way.
To end on a happier note, there is “Les working on his 1985 Cadillac, New Westminster, British Columbia” by Jim Stone. As well as being a great photographer, Stone served for many years on the PRC board and is a past president. It’s a wonderfully active image, so much so that it’s perhaps easy to overlook the structure in the background. What better place for a photograph that includes a suspension scope as powerful as, yes, Bridge Gallery.
WHEN TIME COUNTS
At fp3 Gallery, 346 Congress St., through June 29. 617-350-7410 www.instagram.com/fp3gallery
FROM THE CHEST: An Exhibition and Sale of PRC Treasures
At the Bridge Gallery, 5 Pemberton St., Cambridge, until 30 April. 617-930-3418, www.bridge.photos
Mark Feeney can be contacted at [email protected]