Sunday, June 22, 2008
copyright Carl Wooley
Light Pole on Island
Friday night's opening of Reflect: Full-time Student Exhibition at the ICP was packed with people and energy. I felt just a little like a proud mom to see excellent work by two of my former students, Carl Wooley and Phillip Gutman, both of whom took my Photographing at Night course this past winter.
Carl's piece, Light Pole on Island, belongs to a series of photographs he has been making at night in the city and on the fringes of Long Island. Using a 4x5 camera and long exposures up to thirty minutes, Carl has been producing beautiful and mesmerizing meditations on light and color and empty, anonymous space. His subjects are places like parking lots and woods where leaves and grass are brightly lit by artificial light, giving them an almost alien glow, and other areas of the image fall into a deep darkness. Throughout the course, we picked Carl's brain for his technical expertise and experimentation and were moved by these dream-like and hypnotic images.
Phillip Gutman brought together his interests in classical portraiture, fashion, gender identity and performance in a black & white collage titled Observation, Provocation and Identity. Phillip, whose fierce physical presence calls to mind a Shakespearean actor with a head of thick and curly hair, casts himself as both photographer and subject. His images portray himself photographing his models, who appear to be drag performers of another era, which he combines with images depicting himself engaged in intimate homoerotic scenarios. The narrative he creates leaves us with perhaps some curiosity about a mysterious world he inhabits with lovers and cohorts.