Contemporaneous Extension

Cinematic Photography or Photographic Film?

Despite being somewhat stagnant on the freelance writing front for the last month (I blame moving out of my Brooklyn apartment, a lack of inspiration, and a general desire to be anywhere but New York in the dog-days), I have a recent piece that went up on Whitehot Magazine that I am incredibly proud of. I was introduced to Vanessa Albury, a daring new media artist working in the mediums of 16/35mm film and photography of all breeds, at Peter Clough’s One and Three Quarters of an Inch show at St. Cecilia’s last year (it was brilliant!). Her piece was an exotic thrill, an incredibly overwhelming display of tropical foliage that wrapped up the central, spiral staircase in the convent. Poignant scents ascended the stairwell and several lights illuminated the lush vegetation for dramatic emphasis. The piece was inspired by her grandfather’s Miami greenhouse and maintains Albury’s emphasis on triggering collective and public memory, milking and challenging time, and astutely hypnotizing the viewer. The profile recently published analyzes her oeuvre of photographic and cinematic work spanning approximately ten years and links it to new, even unfinished, works.

Below is a small passage, but check out the full review here.

Photography has been regarded as an indicator of passing time and death since the turn of the 20th century. Theoretically, the snapshot was an inexplicable moment: impossible to recreate and a betrayal to the truth of the moment in its lack of breath, of movement. ‘Funeral (Projection)’ (2005-08) cleverly mocks photography’s mythological magnitude. The piece was realized at Albury’s grandmother’s funeral in 2004. The wide-angle, 35mm shot of a cleared out funeral hall situates the deceased, resting in her coffin, at the center of the image. A chandelier and several table lamps within the frame beam triumphantly, almost on the verge of bursting from augmented amplification at the time of death. A subterranean perspective bellies vulnerability. The photograph is presented as an installation: it occupies an entire wall as the hum of a projector contributes a drone to the collective viewing experience. The viewer slips into reverie amid the murmur of machinery and the weight of the relentless moment. Albury asserts this photograph as an uninterrupted, persistent memorial. It is an emotional scene identifiable to the subconscious of the viewer. Albury provides ‘Funeral (Memory)’ (2005-08) as a keepsake reflecting upon the installation. The highly pixelated Xerox copy of the projection challenges the subject’s timelessness in memory. The Xerox is a synopsis, degrading the poignant image into a muddled scene of black and white diamonds. Photography parallels memory in this case, reflecting the instability of emotional documentation and the nuances of time. Repetition, as was the case in learning cursive or multiplication tables, can solidify memory while numbing one to the particulars of the present. “

Vanessa Albury, 'Funeral (Memory),' 2005-08, Xerox copy

Vanessa Albury, 'Funeral (Memory),' 2005-08, Xerox copy

Vanessa Albury, 'Funeral (Projection),' 2005-2008, 35mm projection

Vanessa Albury, 'Funeral (Projection),' 2005-2008, 35mm projection


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