Past Exhibition

Florida Photographers: The Ordinary to the Extraordinary

May 11 – July 7, 2002
Opening Reception: Fri., May 10, 2002, 7-10 pm

The Jim Jarmusch film Mystery Train begins with a Japanese couple visiting Memphis for the first time. After a day of sightseeing, Mitzuko finds her boyfriend photographing the nightstand, the towel racks, and other ordinary objects in their hotel room. She asks him, “Why do you only take pictures of the rooms we stay in and never what we see outside, while we travel?” He replies “Those other things are in my memory. The hotel rooms and the airports are the things I’ll forget.”

Before photography, paintings were commissioned primarily to record things of great importance, due to the time-consuming and expensive nature of the medium. The invention of photography opened up the process of picture-making to include subjects nobody would have thought to invest the time and money to paint. The resulting photographs often turned out to have an unexpected beauty, and are now an integral part of photography’s history.

A unique aspect of photography is its relationship to the physical world and the tension between reality and the photographer’s creative perspective. Photographs distill a three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional picture, retaining the illusion that subject is still tangible. The viewer’s eye is deceived by photography’s keen sense of description, through which even the subtlest bit of visual information can be transformed into something miraculous and beautiful.

The nine artists in Florida Photographers: The Ordinary to the Extraordinary explore the overlooked objects and places of our everyday lives. Making pictures devoid of the human subject, but containing proof of our existence, they find something mysterious and transcendent in the recording of the mundane. Perhaps it is precisely this ordinariness that surprises us with the simple nuances of life we might otherwise ignore.

-Samantha Salzinger, Curator of Exhibitions

Artists included:
Benjamin Carrillo
Eduardo Del Valle and Mirta Gomez
Priscilla Ferguson
William Maguire
Daniel Mintz
Peggy Levison Nolan
Gloria Leigh O’Connell
Ivan Santiago

Image: Ivan Santiago, From the “Wall” Series, 2001, C-print, 8 × 12 in.