Fine Art Photography Daily

Aline Smithson

This week I am featuring photographers that have current exhibitions or upcoming exhibitions.

On Friday, March 5th, I open a solo exhibition, The Variety Show, at the Tilt Gallery in Phoenix, Arizona. The exhibition features work from three series, Arrangement in Green and Black, In Case of Rain, and Shadows and Stains.

I am going to feature new images from both series, that may or may not be in the exhibition, but of course, will all be for sale.

Statement for In Case of Rain: We live in a world full of technical distractions. I see my children gathered around their computers as though it’s a summer campfire, faces aglow, as they peer into a world of friends and fantasy, participating in a new forms of entertainment that further remove them from the childhood that I experienced.

Today’s generation has lost touch with the activities that previous generations have enjoyed—reading a good book in a comfortable chair, playing board games on a rainy day, flipping through Life magazines, or sprawling out on the living room rug while listening to records and reading the backs of album covers.

And it’s because of this that I have been looking at bookshelves and untouched childhood pursuits with a new eye. With great sadness, I realize that these objects will someday be obsolete, at least in their current incarnations. And like a curator of antiquities, I see them now as beautiful objects to be admired and preserved, if only on film.

I can only hope for rain, a heavy rain and maybe a power outage.

Statement for Shadows and Stains: I’ve been thinking about the state of photography–it’s pursuit, the business of it, the idea of selling an image, the artist’s viewpoint, the MFA school of imagery, the death of the wet darkroom, iconic photography, toy cameras and digital cameras, edition and print sizes, old rules, new challenges—all the currents we photographers have to navigate in today’s photographic waters. As a darkroom printer, I have found the meditative and creative state that I experience so important to my work—it’s where I make my mark, it’s where much of the thinking about the image takes place. Losing that experience as part of the process is not an option I want to face.

This series touches upon the brave new world of photography and takes a jab at what feels familiar. I want to explore the idea of a photograph, what it captures and what memory it creates. Shot with a toy camera (the Diana), I set out to deconstruct images, overlap or cut my negatives, add thoughts that never get said out loud, add text and texture through traditional methods in the darkroom, add washes of oil paint to the surface, and discard the idea of making the perfect print. I want the shadows and stains of my photographic fingerprints as evidence that I was there, in a dark room.

I’d also like to give a shout out for Susan Burstine’s show at the Newspace Gallery in Portland that also opens March 5th. If you are in the Portland area, I’m sure she’d love to see you!

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