Instagram

Monday, January 17, 2011

The LA Photo Show Experience

Nothing quite moves me the way that photography does.  This past Saturday I went to the LA Photo show for the day and it was and experience I won't soon forget.  As soon as I walked in, I felt like a kid in a candy store. So many beautiful photographs from today and throughout history.  Life shown on every inch of space on the walls of the Santa Monica civic center.

As if it were the last piece of cake, I wanted to savor every moment I was there.  I carefully visited every booth up and down the isles, not to miss anything.  At times, I went outside to take a break and let what I just saw absorb into my brain.  What I am drawn to is not necessarily what others would love. This is what I love about art.  There is something for everyone.  I especially love documentary photography and photographs that are personal to the photographer.  I think all photographs displayed are beautiful but there is something about capturing a moment in time that wasn't staged that gets to me.  Some of those images are the most raw and I could look at them for hours.  I am drawn to the subject and want to know more about their life and about the photographer's life.   One of the images that stuck out for me was one in a series of images by Bruce Hall.  He is documenting the life of his autistic twin sons.  Bruce is legally blind.

Events such as this one can be overwhelming.  Especially if you take the time to look and think about what you are looking at.   I was so engrossed in the experience, at times I had to look around and remember that other people are there.  In fact, there were a lot of people there but I didn't notice.

It was a beautiful sunny day in California so I decided to sit on the grass in the front of the center to have lunch.  I took my time eating and thinking.  I really was in my own little world.  I've been to the civic center a few times a long time ago for other events.  After lunch, I wandered to the chain tree sculpture to take a few photographs with my camera phone and to sit under it for a while.  Moments later, a woman came up to me and politely asked me to move since they wanted to take a photograph of the front of the civic center building.  She said I could join them to watch, so I did.

I stood around with a few people looking at a giant wet plate camera.  People were video taping with their phones and taking all sorts of photographs so thought something special was about to happen.  Some of the people were smiling and giggling around me, while taking photographs of a man with a black apron on.  A woman in a sun dress next to me would alert the small group each time a cop car drove by. Now I was intrigued.  Who cares if a cop car drove by? I started flipping through the legality of shooting in a public place in my brain and from all I've researched, we were fine.

I asked the woman who asked me to move about the photographer and she turned to me, smiled and told me it is Luther Gerlach. He teaches classes at the Getty in Wet Plate photography and it just so happens that he has built and takes 22x30 photographs with the largest wet plate camera in the world.


He started telling people what to do so the moment was getting close.  I focused my attention on the photographer and what he was doing that I didn't look at what he was shooting at since I knew it was just the front of the building.  I was standing next to him watching his every move when I noticed everyone snapping away at what he was taking a photograph of.  I casually turned to look and there it was.  The woman I was standing next to was perched on the chain tree, nude. With all of the other on lookers, documented it with my camera phone.  The moment lasted about 10 seconds and then Luther ran off to his van to develop the print.  A few moments later, the finished piece was on display outside of the van.

I am glad that I went and look forward to more art events in the future.  I hope that you get out to appreciate arts in your neighborhood.

5 comments:

Cat Carrel said...

Wow, that is quite the story! What a treat it must have been to watch him take and process that photo right before your eyes. Looking and reading through your blog, I saw him standing over the tub with the finished photo and was wondering how he processed it on the spot. did he have a darkroom in his van? Cool. With everything digitized these days, plate photography along with darkroom processing is becoming a lost niche art. Makes me want to put my darkroom back together!

susan said...

Ditto on the desire to put the darkroom back together!

Wish I could have seen it, Alison.

Thanks for sharing.

Susan in Reno

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

My pictures pale in comparison to yours. yet most often there is a story behind the picture and lots of times I focus on that rather than the image itself. Here you've shown an aspect of what I enjoy about photography the most, the story behind the photograph. Another great post Allison.

Misha said...

Alison, what a fantastic story and experience.

I would like to have seen the reaction of people showing up after the fact while they were viewing the photo and looking over at the chain sculpture, putting two and two together!

NowSoLA Vintage said...

Hey Alison,
I've been following you on Facebook for quite some time now & have just recently discovered your amazing blog. I too am in Long Beach and love life in this beautiful place! I'm sorry that I missed the photography show, and can imagine it was quite amazing!
I left a little something for you on my blog today...so stop by and check it out :-)
http://nowsolavintage.blogspot.com/2011/01/stylish-blogger.html
Will you be having any shows in Long Beach again soon?
Kindest regards - Lara

Disqus for alisontravels

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails