Technologies old and new combine for Cal Poly photography exhibit

Oct 15, 2014

Cal Poly University is hosting its first Art Galley of the new school year, "Photography now" , which exhibits modern photography with a vintage twist and highlights the work of nine San Jose State photographers, most of whom attended galleries opening.

The artwork is a mix of old photography that dates back to the infancy days of before the civil war to more modern images that we're used to today.

Jeff van Kleek, the gallery coordinator for the University Art Gallery describes the show:

"Its an alternative process show which means its processes that were invented at the dawn of photography and what's interesting about the show is its people using computer, Photoshop work and then combining it with historical processes."

THE ALTERNATIVE PROCESS REFERS TO ANY NON-TRADITIONAL OR NON-COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTING PROCESS WHICH DATE BACK MORE THAN 100 YEARS.

"You see a lot of things like Instagram or any of the other photo apps on phones and they're basically trying to model and take after what these processes were so theres a lot of interest in it. Theres a lot of people who like to do hands on now instead of working completely on the computer and so therefore it seems like its a good fit."

THE GALLERY FOCUSES ON CREATIVITY, EMPATHY, INNOVATION, DESIGN SKILLS, STORYTELLING, AND BIG-PICTURE THINKING BY BRINGING BOLD THINKERS, EMERGING AND ESTABLISHED ARTISTS, AND CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS TO THE CAL POLY CAMPUS. DAN HERRERA... ONE OF THE ARTISTS ON DISPLAY DESCRIBES HIS METHODOLOGY.

Dan Herrera: "So one of the things I wanted to do was connect the narrative with the actual photographic process so the narrative I was talking about was this Vaudeville variety show, turn of the century around early 1900s-ish and so it made sense to use a process from that time so when I think that theres this intuitive connection for the viewer where this looks like an old photograph and so its referencing the time period and that connection i think is really important. Umm I think just an idea of wanting to tell stories and wanting people to feel connected with the stories I was trying to tell and so I think the more layers that I can add to that either visually or with the sculptures that I make or the photographic process people experience when their looking at the prints adds to their experience and it adds to their enjoyment of my story that im trying to tell."

Jeff Van Kleeck: "Dan sorta hits a lot of different notes, he hand builds a lot of his props so theres a little bit of sculpture in there. He shoots everything digitally, he combines everything in Photoshop and then he uses Gumbycromate which is a very old process, its four layers with each layer hand put on so it takes days to make the prints so he seems to be a little bit of photo, a little design, a little studio art, a little sculpture, a little everything mixed into one."

Dan Hererra: "There is a certain look to them and the actual physical print itself that you cant really replicate with anything now and so since the narrative set in around that time period it made sense for me to print using a process that was from that time."

NINAINE KELLEY... ANOTHER SAN JOSE STATE GRADUATE ALSO USES GUM BIOCROMATE IN HER PROCESS

Ninaine Kelley: "I focus mainly on 19th century processes, the work I'm showing right now is all gum bicromade over ciantype and the imagery is all personal narrative. Its what I see and what I do and trying to capture what im experiencing so someone else can see it through me. When I first started studying photography I was always drawn to the pictoralist photographers that sort of soft dreamy, handmade, quality of their print. Even before I started doing photography I was always really attracted to Victorian era painting so its all very much wrapped up in that whole esthetic movement."

KATHLEEN McDONALD, ANOTHER SAN JOSE STATE GRADUATE FROM THE WEST INDIES HAD A DIFFERENT APPROACH

Kathleen McDonald: "So its actually an installation, its cyanotypes on silk and they were done with large negatives which were processed digitally and then each image was then exposed under UV light and then toned in coffee and tea and then sewed together to create the hanging silk instillation. I think that process was actually what brought me more into photography besides working with film."

KATHLEEN'S PIECE IS A DIFFERENT FROM ALL THE OTHERS IN HOW IT COMBINES SIGHT, SOUND, AND SMELL TO CREATE A WHOLE NEW EXPERIENCE.

KATHLEENS ART PIECE: "But today I recaptured the islands bright beaches, blue midsts from the ocean rolling into the fisherman's houses, by these shores I was born, sound of the sea came in my window, life heaved and breathed in me then with the strength of that turbulent soil. Since then I have traveled, moved far from the beaches sojourned in the stoniest cities, walking the lands in the north in sharp slanting sleet and the hail, crosses countless saltless Savannah's and come to this house in the forest where the shadows oppress me."

Kathleen McDonald: "When I originally did it, I had the speakers on each side of the room so its sort of like this dialog that's happening back and fourth and you know you're hearing this sea, you're sort of in the midst of all of this while you're getting all of this smells of the flora, of the Caribbean, and the silk shimmers you walk by so you're affecting this identity thats like an emorphic being...The scents are different flowers from the Caribbean so hibiscus, franjapenny, theres oleander which is also present here in the states and I actually made them from essential oil so then...there actually those flowers are in the pictures themselves so this scent is coming from those flowers that are in the images."

ALL THE ARTISTS CREDIT BRIAN TAYLOR A SAN JOSE STATE PROFESSOR WHO INSPIRED THEIR CREATIVITY.

Kathleen McDonald: "I took a class at San Jose State with Brian Taylor and I just fell in love with all of the artists hand in the work, you know those handmade processes that was something that I really loved, especially coming from a painting background.  

Ninaine Kelley: "We all took alternative processes or history of photography or some class from Brian Taylor and Brian's just an amazing mentor. He was my major advisor when I did my BFA show, I think he was Dan's advisor when he was going through the program as well and he's so enthusiastic about what he does and about process and he just makes you want to go out there and make stuff."

THE PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT WILL CONTINUE THROUGH SATURDAY NOVEMBER FIRST.