Artist Review

I recently attended the show of Andrew Hammerand and Charles Anthony Darr’s Amnesia, at Vanity on Mill and the Phoenix Art Museum’s exhibit of Ansel Adams: Discoveries, archival works borrowed from the Center of Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona. The Phoenix Art Museum has organized around six aspects of Adam’s career; I will focus mostly on Adam’s early works from 1916 – 1927 to those of both of Hammerand and Darr. Each artist’s presentation generates their aptitude of intimacy, establishing an unfathomable relationship to their subjects through photography’s “straight” and “pure” style.

Locations for both shows are active members in the local art community; many people are spectators to each artist’s images. Hammerand and Darr’s available space was limited in comparison to the Ansel Adam’s exhibition, but I do not believe it affected their images one bit.

Instead, I feel as if the artist’s made their photographs further accessible to the viewer(s), as one would say “the more the merrier.” Both shows did not present an artist statement; again, it did not influence my interpretation of their images. The decision to not post an artist statement was actually comforting to me, mainly because I did not want my translations to be tainted by the artist explanations before I get the chance to develop my own understanding of their work(s).

Hammerand and Darr’s show could not have been more “straight,” meaning their images, and vacant artist statement/titles are unmanipulated, giving the viewer full range of interpretation. The naturalness and immediacy produce by Hammerand and Darr images are the pure definition of the “snapshot.” The snapshot concept was introduced to the public on a large-scale by Eastman Kodak, which produced the Brownie box camera around 1900[1]. Adam’s recounts the tale when his parents presented him with a Kodak Brownie Box Camera:

“I climbed an old and crumbling stump of arboreal grandeur with my camera and was  about to snap the shutter when the stump gave way and I plummeted to the ground. On    the way down, I inadvertently pushed the shutter.” In comparison to the other pictures on   the roll of film, this photograph was oriented upside-down. Serendipitously, it became one of Adam’s favorites from his early years of photography, even though he did not      actually look through the view finder to capture the scene. [2]

The displayed images are “snapshots” that are unintentionally but with careful consideration of presentation and passion for their photographs. The documented “snapshots” of the intimate relationships to their subjects, the High Sierras for Adams and daily encounters for Hammerand and Darr are images of pure photography.

[1] “Snapshot (photography) -.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web.

[2] Phoenix Art Museum, Ansel Adams: Discovery


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