Ron Martin views the work of three photographers at HCP's new gallery.
During his initial work in photojournalism, Jim Caldwell says that he likened his basic premise to that of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal, which states, in part, that as the scale of the area observed is reduced, our effects on it, and therefore our uncertainty about it, is increased; i.e., as we become more intimate, we become more unsure of what we know. Similarly, as the size of the group Jim photographed decreased, his influence, for better or worse, increased. At one-to-one, the effect was profound; so much so that he began to doubt the credibility of the portrait as it is commonly regarded.
At the same time as he sought an alternative to the portrait process, he became increasingly aware of his debt to his models in other projects. A great model was a true collaborator and had ideas of his or her own to contribute. Hence, he began, over a year ago, to lend his studio to interested persons for self-portraits. The basic modus operandi has been to set a motor-driven camera on a tripod in front of a large, full-length mirror facing seamless backdrop paper. He then set lights on the participants according to their wishes, coached them on a few technical do's and don'ts, handed them the long cable release and left. The results have been surprising and the participants usually thrilled.
Jim Tiebout's photographs deal with common objects that are usually seen in a different context. He has tried to give them new life by viewing them from a different perspective and making them surpass their normality. These objects lose their visual impact due to our constant exposure to them. He has tried to bring them to the foreground again by viewing them at different times and under different lighting conditions, thus allowing the form to transcend the mundane quality that we have attributed to them.
Claire Peeps, a California photographer sees the human figure as appealing to universal sympathies with sexuality and self-affirmation.
She prefers not to dwell on the obvious in her images nor to illustrate stories. She chooses instead to situate the figures in sparse, distilled environments where they can be freed of spatial and literal context. While she acknowledges that there may be some latent eroticism in her pictures, she seeks to encase it with a broader framework of generalized sensuality rather than specified sexuality.
Just as she tries to impart a sense of physical distance, she tries to create an illusion of audible distance too. By the use of so much white and grey it is as if the figures are caught between silence and intermittent noises and between stasis and movement.