Ellen Cantor: Prior Pleasures
There have been numerous projects examining our relationships with books and one of my favorite series is Prior Pleasures by photographer Ellen Cantor. Using multiple exposures, she looks back at her childhood favorites, giving us a glimpse into the world of the author’s imagination and the memory that each book evokes.
Born in Chicago, Ellen graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign and UCLA Interior and Architectural Design Program. After a career in Interior Design, she shifted her focus into fine art photography. She has exhibited at UCLA School of Medicine, Palos Verdes Art Center, LAAA/Gallery 825, LACMA Rental Gallery, Photo LA and the Venice Art Walk and is a founding member of The Peacock Group, a fine art photography group in the South Bay. Since 2002, Ellen has exhibited in more than 100 shows in Los Angeles throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
In 2012/2013, her photographs have been exhibited at the Platt/Borstein Gallery at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, in L’aura borealis at the Palos Verdes Art Center, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital Art Ability Exhibition in Malvern, PA, C.A.R. Network, The Innovative Art Fair in Seoul, Korea, Los Angeles Art Association/Gallery 825, Delaware Art Museum, WUHO Gallery and Galerie Nadine Feront in Brussels, Belgium. In 2014, Ellen opens an exhibition of Prior Pleasures at Hale Arts in Santa Monica on January 10th, then opens an another exhibition of the same series at the Hebrew Union College-JIR at the Skirball campus in Los angeles. The exhibition “Abracadabra: Myth, Magic and Monsters” will run from January 19-June 30, 2014. Her project Unorthodox Anatomy opens January 25that the Zask Gallery in Palos Verdes, CA.
Every man’s memory is his private literature. ~Aldous Huxley
Prior Pleasures recalls the joy of reading childhood books, a habit that is slowly being replaced with today’s e-technology. The books photographed for this series are the ones I have carried with me since childhood, not only from house to house, but also within my memories.
Using multiple images in camera, I photograph the end papers, illustrations and text to create the illusion of reading the book and seeing the drawings simultaneously. The appearance of pages turning is a metaphor for one of my PRIOR PLEASURES—reading for the sake of enjoyment. The luxury of being involved with an object that doesn’t multi-task will slowly disappear. Reading a book will become part of the daily distraction of Facebook, websites and e-mail. The pleasure of holding an object that has only one purpose will evaporate.
In the future, books may become obsolete relics of a distant time and place. We may view them under glass or on walls of museums to remind us of an era when people actually read books made from paper.This series is about aging, time, memory, preservation of the past and creation of a legacy for the next generation.