The Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography opened its fall season with a membership exhibition surveying the photographic image from a large and diverse perspective. Thirty-two members exhibited in the new space at the Russell Industrial Center, a seven building complex built in 1925 and originally home to an auto body supplier.
Sarah Nesbitt’s, Losing the Collection, uses multi-media including photography and found materials. Fresh out of the MFA program at Pennsylvania State University’s School of Visual Arts, Nesbitt’s work combines photo imagery with inventory tags sewn into a pigmented inkjet print. She questions in her artist statement, “When we find photographs from well-known parts of history, does it alter our past?” Nesbitt explores the idea of recycling materials and opening the work to re-interpretation. Photographers like Nesbitt challenge the conventional idea of photography by adding novel material. In other work, she recycles a box of old 35mm slides and engages in a Wet Plate Collodion process in order to expose a large panel of slides to photographic paper. Her inventive ideas may challenge the archival aspect of collecting these multidimensional works of art.
In his work Phone Store, Rob Kangas, who currently teaches photography at Oakland Community College, creates a large vertical color pigment print 26” X 96” that involves multiple, overlapping images. The abstract collage plays on the use of phone store imagery. Kangas created many of the panoramic montages by partially overlapping and juxtaposing multiple images on his film. Kangas uses 35mm film to juxtapose and overlap images by moving the film forward in the gate. In an Oakland Community College article, he explains, “These photos serve as a metaphor for my feelings about looking at things from multiple perspectives in an attempt to understand the world.” The image departs from tradition and brings a painter’s perspective to composition where the constructs of shape and color dominate. Kangas, who holds a MFA from University of Michigan in photography, remains committed to traditional film work in a universe dominated by digital imagery.
Ron Scott is a pseudonym for a writer based in the Detroit area. View more articles by Ron Scott.