Monday, May 17, 2010

Sometimes I'm casting about for an artist to talk about and find one really close to home - my friend Christopher Harris creates his art with a pinhole camera - these are long exposure photos made with a lens-less camera. They have a moody, intriguing blurred quality that takes them away from realism toward Rothko country (that's kind of to the north of Marlboro country, minus the carcinogenics). As he explains, "His landscapes and seascapes are meditations on transcendence, a quality Americans have associated with the West for two hundred years."

His latest series will be exhibited at Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle beginning June 3rd. They are part of his Skagit Series focussing on twilight views of abandoned boats, winter trees, and other shapes barely visible in the fading light. (You'll have to go in person; I have no images yet to post.)

Above is Canola Field. This was taken in Nez Perce County in Eastern Washington.

And here's Rodeo, taken with a small, pocket-size camera, left intentionally with this grainy, scratched look. I'm not sure why, but I seem to prefer images that require some scrutiny, that are not easy to assess with a quick glance.

I really like the movement and the spontaneity of this one. Living in the Northwest, I think gray has become my favorite color by default or osmosis.

I like the way pinhole photography magically reduces the world to its simplest elements of color and shape. I don't know enough about it to figure out how many decisions are still left for the artist. Do you know?


  1. Thanks for the intro to Christopher Harris and his work. The photo-artwork at the link you provide is wonderful. I like the connection you make between pinhole photography and Rothko. I spent a good part of the weekend taking in some fine Rothkos (amongst others) at the fine 'Monet and Abstraction' show at the Thyssen musuem in Madrid.

  2. These are beautiful images. Thank you for introducing me to Mr. Harris's work. And by the way, I attended your opening at the SAM rental gallery last week. Your paintings are spectacular.