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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

William Lemke - Essence of Photography

I'm drawn today to focus attention on the black and white photography of William Lemke. Three of his pieces are showing in Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition: The Serious and Playful Sides of Light.

Brought to its essence, photography is the art of painting with light...light is the medium. Lemke brings photography to its essence with these three photographs. These pieces are studies in the interplay of light and dark within the context of masterful composition.  

Saruaro 2 AZ, Near Monument Valley 4 UT, Plant Guatamala

Saruaro 2 AZ is playful, with a very tall primary cactus casting a very long and dark shadow right down the middle of the photograph, nearly dividing the entire image in half. Due to the angle from which Lemke took the photograph, the primary cactus and other cacti appear darkly silhouetted against a brightly lit sky. Light...dark...shadow. Lemke was having great fun, it seems, with the strong desert light and created an interesting and witty photograph.

Near Monument Valley 4 UT is a more serious presentation of light. Here Lemke photographed a very large sky with, perhaps, an incoming storm. Bright clouds at the horizon and darker clouds above suggest that the light may soon be overcome by darkness as the clouds battle and a storm rolls in. A single jutting land formation rests at the bottom of the image, reaching up into the sky, reaching into the battle between light and dark.

Plant Guatamala shows the shadows that result when light is cast upon a rather complicated object with layers. Once again, there is a playful back-and-forth between light and shadow. The shapes created by the shadows are no less important than the interesting shapes of the leaves. Here too, Lemke had to pay attention to the angle from which he took the shot in order to capture the light and darkness that creates the perfect composition as well as the lush three-dimensionality of the subject.

Saruaro 2 AZ (22 x 28), Silver Gelatin Print, Framed, $375
Near Monument Valley 4 UT (22 x 28), Silver Gelatin Print, Framed, $375
Plant Guatamala (22 x 24), Silver Gelatin Print, Framed, $325

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
January 20, 2010

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