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Arts

Christine Desjardins' Gifted Gaffe at Galerie Graff

Posted by MP / September 16, 2007

20070115_graff.jpgBody and Shadow, 13 September until 13 October, 2007 at Galerie Graff, 963 Rachel E

There are more artists than good ideas. Extra lemons, then, when an artist wimps out with a good idea.

Christine Desjardins’ latest offering is a series of eight portraits shot contre-jour with the subject against the light, breaking a fundamental rule of photography. By presenting her family and friends in shadow, erasing their particularities and reducing them to silhouettes, she claims to arrive at “a more complete portrait.” Though the work shown isn’t up to the technical challenge, the air of possibility is still worth a visit.

Of the eight works, roughly half follow her approach successfully. The rest just look underexposed. Fabien (2006), a solemn double-portrait of a young boy, is the best of the lot. He looks out a window on the left, and lies rigor-mortis-straight in bed on the right. Arresting, the photo catches a sense of suburban anonymity and loneliness; the hollow interior space vibrates with the broken promises of an ideal suburban life.

Digital photography is pretty advanced, but there are still some things it can’t do that well. One of these is high-contrast and low-light photography. Dejardins manages, but it doesn’t take much to scar images as subtle as these—and with the subject in shadow a close inspection should have been anticipated. Many have ugly false colours between bright white and dark black areas, artifacts in areas of solid black and other typical digital problems. It's just too bad.

Detail from Fabien (2006), Courtesy of Galerie Graff

Discussion

8 Comments

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