Old and new photography techniques at Adam Cave | Visual Art | Indy Week

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Old and new photography techniques at Adam Cave

The image endures

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Kim Ellen Kauffman's "Weave" (2006), 16 in. x 21.5 in., archival pigment print. Edition of 15. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ADAM CAVE FINE ART

Four Photographers
Adam Cave Fine Art
Through Aug. 9

The camera lens is often understood as a mechanism for capturing exacting, unforgiving and unemotional views of our surroundings. "The camera doesn't lie," the saying goes.

But the Four Photographers exhibit on view at Adam Cave Fine Art dispels this notion and demonstrates the tremendous varieties of emotive image-making that photography actually encompasses. Recent years have brought dramatic change to the medium: Digital cameras and printing techniques have fundamentally altered the way photography is done. With a foot in both the 19th and 21st centuries, this show succeeds by showing the contrast between digital techniques with more traditional methods and affording us a thumbnail glimpse of photography's past and present. Examples of time-honored, laborious photographic processes such as platinum printing and cyanotypes co-exist alongside C-prints and the latest digital technologies

The four artists included in the show explore the time-honored subjects—landscape, still life and the human figure—but in often unconventional ways. DIANA BLOOMFIELD, for example, works with the lensless pinhole cameras, and she also utilizes antique methods of printing such as platinum prints and cyanotype. Her choice of subject matter echoes Romanticism, particularly the moody, emotive landscapes in works such as "Middle Island" and "Lake Ellis Simon at Dusk."

ANDREW ROSS is also involved with landscape imagery, but he's preoccupied by the individual's place within it. His urban scenes typically depict one or very few figures moving about among streetscapes or along building facades. Isolation and solitude come to mind. Due to his shot selection, exquisite timing and the softly focused edges in his prints, his photographs have the distinct qualities of architectural models—they play tricks with scale and depth of field. One can't help but feel empathy with his figures and implicated in their plight.

The work of STEPHEN AUBUCHON is ethereal in essence in the sense that he is studying the fleeting body in motion. His dancer photos, such as "Supplication" and "Etude," have a whirling feel, while a pair of beach landscapes rounds out his works in the show: In their dusky twilight, there's a chromatic unification of beach, sea and sky.

The 21st century comes most explicitly into view with the work of KIM ELLEN KAUFFMAN, who pushes the boundaries of photography by eliminating the camera itself. Rather, she uses a scanner as a type of camera and captures images of leaves, plant stems, seeds and other flora. A work like "Frabrication" exhibits how, once scanned, the image has then been imported into photo manipulation software such as Photoshop to create a richly textured and lush final digital printed image.

The exhibit at Adam Cave Gallery makes us consider where the fixing of images is heading. Will there always be room for the handcrafted work of art in the digital age? This show gives cause for optimism.

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