Carmella by Helen Breznik. courtesy ArtHaus/the artist
If you want to know why ArtHaus was voted the best art gallery in the Bay Area in 2012, just visit the current exhibit of the '1st International Mobile Photo Exhibit.' now up through June 20, 2012. Located in "south of the slot," one of San Francisco's emerging trendy areas, ArtHaus presents an unobtrusive facade to the street but once you enter, the experience is a powerful one. The current show should put photography made with cell-phones on the art map.
ArtHaus Gallerists James Bacchi and Annette Schutz sponsored the show, curated by founder of the Mobile Photo Awards, Daniel Berman. Berman founded the awards to promote and harness the global phenomenon of mobile, or cell-phone, photography and art. For the show, 26 photographs were chosen out of over 2,200 submissions. Fifteen awards were given for formal photographic merit in categories including art and architecture, landscapes and self-portraits, while 11 app awards were given for the skillful use of various camera photo processing applications.
Curvaceous by Heather Craig. courtesy ArtHaus/the artist
Photography has come a long ways from the days of the daguerreotype and Matthew Brady. Contemporary photographers are freed from the darkroom, the need to for chemical processing and laborious printing. Now, according to Heather Craig, one of the winners of the contest, with the iPhone, they have an entire art studio in their pocket.
The new techniques are not without their detractors. Just as the Impressionists were mocked and thought not "real" painters, so those who use the new media are looked down up by those who came up the hard way, learning all the intricate techniques of various cameras, film stock and papers.
Since the beginning, photography has been complicated by the medium's focus on realism. The camera phone has made it possible to pass over that philosophical hurdle by merging the lines between photography, realism and fine art.
Double Dutch Nuns by Jose Chavarry. courtesy ArtHaus/the artist.
The new media also has its techniques, which aren't necessarily easy to master. The show has dozens of photographs made using a whole encyclopedia of photo aps and beautiful they are too. There are multiple categories such as landscapes, self-portraits and street photography as well as categories in digital art and software enhanced abstraction.
Heather Craig on Curvaceous (one of the winning images, "I’ve been a photographer for most of my life, and it’s quite simply an extension of who I am. It is a need as much as a desire, and I’ve come to realize that for me the muse often comes from the act itself, not necessarily a particular outcome. If I’m feeling artistically stuck, I just need to shoot…anything…and eventually I find the magic again."
Works range from realistic as in Jose Chavarry's Henri Cartier Bresson inspired photo of two Dutch nuns skipping rope to the romantic abstract landscape "Tidal Impressions," by Pat Shourds. Cindy Patrick's "Waiting for the Perfect Wave," is a 21st century tribute to the intense color saturated values of 1950's Kodachrome. Jennifer Braewell's image of large mouth swallowing a flamingo, "Ornamental Food," is both funny and surrealistic. Sam Berkowitz's "I am Sam," is right out of German Expressionism.
No matter what the inspiration, each of the works exhibited in the show presents a unique and individual take in a multiplicity of techniques and inspirations. New technologies are not always quickly accepted. Shows like this should help bridge the gap between what was, what is and what can be by presenting the infinite possibilities between technology and human creativity.
ArtHaus has been invited to take the exhibition to the 2012 SF FINE ART FAIR, May 17-20, 2012 where it will be presented as a special exhibition and panel discussion at this international contemporary fine art fair.
Mobile Awards Photo Blog: http://the-mpas.com/
ArtHaus. 411 Brannan Street. (between 3rd Street and 4th Street). San Francisco, CA 94107. 415-977-0223