The art of photography is capturing a memorable image of a specific moment in time. In the hands of inspired photographic artists James Canter, Stephanie Luke and Harvey Spector, their cameras have documented unforgettable images in response to the pandemic years.
Their photographic art will be featured in the Main Event Gallery’s exhibition, “Triple Exposure: The Pandemic Edition, 2019-2022,” June 16-July 9, with an artist reception Friday, June 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. , 710 Main St., Red Bluff. Gallery members will share their art in a variety of mediums. The event is sponsored by the Tehama County Arts Council.
Canter, Luke and Spector are well known in the Upstate for their passion for photography and their accomplishments in this art form. They have exhibited their award-winning images widely, some appearing in publications and many in private collections. They focused on travel and street photography, but that suddenly stopped with covid.
“The times have been filled with stress, anxiety, fear and sadness and above all isolation as covid raged, fires ravaged and temperatures escalated. We stayed indoors, seemingly struggling against a war on the outside,” Canter said. “The few times I drove around the community, I found empty lakes, burned towns and lonely people. Seeking solace in this environment, I changed my perspective as I took the opportunity to photograph what was in front of me, creating still life images from objects I found around the house and went out locally to photograph landscapes.”
Photography was always a desire of Canter, making films in the 1960s. After a career in teaching, he devoted his retirement to photography, taking lessons and studying in depth the master painters and how they used a single light source to create a dark, smoky feel. their paintings, which he uses in his works. His images, almost exclusively in black and white, highlight textures and contrasts giving his subjects emotion and intensity.
Stephanie Luke said: “In the winter of 2021, I started my usual morning walk around the neighborhood. Looking at the pavement, I noticed some interesting things that were wet and flattened from the recent rains; leaves, pieces of grass and roots, delicate feathers and started taking a series of photos with my iphone.
Over time, it has evolved into a representation of the human presence that accumulates at the edge of our civilization. Finally, I realized that I was mainly motivated by a need to get closer to others, to all those who I could not be close to in the time of covid. Perhaps it was a way to safely peer into their lives as represented by the things they threw away. Each image has become a small environmental portrait.”
Luke took photography courses at Lassen and Sierra colleges and has been practicing the art of photography for 40 years. She has the eye of an artist, and at one time considered a painter.
Luke’s artistic imagination has no boundaries. She appreciates the freedom and possibilities offered by Photoshop for surprising and often mysterious juxtapositions in her images.
“The veil of the dark years of the pandemic compelled me to be more mindful; to find the light out of the shadows,” Spector said. “These images are my attempt to share my interactions with an uncertain world, to bring order to chaos and beauty to despair. I create these images because words fail me. In solitude, I have explored near my home, finding comfort and mystery, but also discovering luminous moments.”
Spector is moved by the joy of visual discovery and the wonder of actually looking at things. This process is full of magic for him, providing a means of self-expression. Although he considers himself a happy person, his best works frequently open a portal to a darker world evoking a sense of loss and abandonment.
After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, Spector worked as a commercial studio and architectural photographer and spent more than a decade as a freelance photographer for the Getty Research Institute. During his years in the commercial field, he has developed a high level of technical expertise evident in his thought-provoking images filled with dramatic lighting and mystery.
The event’s main gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. For more information, email [email protected]