Erika Gentry: Allez
I’ve had the great pleasure to get to know Erika Gentry over the years. She has been an active board member of SPE in California, a passionate educator, and dedicated Francophile, returning to France each summer to teach workshops and make work. I was able to see Erika’s new project, Allez, at Photolucida and experience her time-based prints in person (seeing the work online only allows for a partial experience, as the images are large and detailed). While in Europe, Erika often experiences the landscape from a train window and that sense of land and time passing fold into her examination of panoramic motion.
Erika is a Multimedia Artist and Educator located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her projects explore issues of identity as expressed through the use of technology and place. A self-proclaimed Francophile, she exhibits and travels internationally and in 2014 was an artist in residence in France funded in part by the Tenot Foundation and Center for Cultural Innovation. Erika has been selected as a faculty member to teach with the University of Virginia in their Spring 2016 Semester at Sea Voyage “Around the World”.
Gentry grew up in Portland Oregon and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from The School of Journalism and Communications at the University of Oregon in Eugene. She completed her master of fine arts degree at The College of Imaging Arts and Sciences from New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology.
An award-winning Educator, she has taught one-on-one and group courses at corporations and colleges such as The Rochester Institute of Technology, The San Francisco Art Institute, Foothill College, City College of San Francisco and Rayko Photo Center where she designs intensive workshops for intermediate photographers in San Francisco, France and beyond (www.photographyinfrance.com). Gentry is currently a full-time faculty member and Photography Department Chair at the City College of San Francisco.
This photographic project explores the fleeting experience of the voyage as seen out the window. Made in France, it takes as its starting point the photographic motion studies of Marey and Muybridge and writer Rebecca Solnit’s notion that the work coincided with passenger experience. According to Solnit, the persistence of vision held these motion studies responsible for confluences of art and science. Travel by train allowed Victorians to see the world passing before them in constant motion. Allez continues this conversation through its contemporary street photographs of Paris.
The series attempts to explore the technological influences on contemporary photography through the use of small mobile cameras. While sharing public spaces, the subjects appear fragmented and disconnected. Constantly in motion – a lack of engagement and being present with one another is evident. The photographer too is alone but together with passengers, acting as a voyeur making long continuous and un-manipulated exposures while in constant moving transit by bus and metro.
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