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Darkroom Gallery Exhibits Display the Creative Power of Photography

By S. Mathur

We are so accustomed to the trope of the candid camera that a reminder of the enigmatic and open-ended nature of photographic images is almost a revelation. Consider, for example, some recent exhibits at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction, VT:

Curvilinear

Dreams Caught by Mark Allen Dierker

Planar lines that wind, wend and soar through an image's field of focus....Curved lines are graceful, rhythmic, dynamic and add energy to an image. They can separate or connect elements or simply offer a balance to a photograph. Arches, circles, S curves and implied curves can be created by a variety of subject matter.

Oddity

Fire, San Jose, California by Michael Martin

Strange, eerie and illusive; photographs that lend themselves to an implied narrative or otherworldly oddity. In documenting the oddness of real life, the "Photographer of the Freaks" Diane Arbus, once said her pictures sought to capture "the space between who someone is and who they think they are". There is a realness and and a perplexing otherworldliness to her work that makes it so provocative.

Lost and Found

Great Falls, MT by William Rugen

To happen upon something forgotten, forsaken; to find what was once lost. Photography eliciting scenes or subjects that meant something to someone long ago or in the recent past.

For Darkroom Gallery Director Ken Signorello, it is the merging of the documentary and the creative forms that makes photography a special art: "Photography is special as an artistic medium because it starts with a recording and can proceed to an artistic expression. There can be intent and artistry in the initial recording too. But because it has the reality based element it can be used for documentary purposes too. It's this wide range that makes photography special to me."

Signorello's first introduction to photography was when he was in his teens, through his father. Coming back to it twenty years later, he discovered how difficult it was for new photographers to exhibit their work: "I was starting to exhibit my work in other galleries and realized how expensive it was and how many talented photographers were out there never really showing their work because of the hassle and expense. So the idea behind the Darkroom Gallery is to make it very easy and inexpensive to gain some recognition and exposure and maybe even sell a work."

He founded Darkroom Gallery in 2010 to help photographers exhibit their work in juried shows with a minimum of trouble and expense. The monthly shows are juried by leading photographers and the photographs are displayed both in the gallery and online.

As well as the monthly exhibits, Darkroom Gallery hosts workshops and classes for photographers. Signorello says, "We have a range of workshops for beginners to masters. We have workshops on simple technical matters like exposure to workshops designed to enhance creativity." Among exhibits, his favorites are what Darkroom Gallery calls the original colors of photography: "Our black and white exhibitions are always wonderful. Not only do the images harken back to the historical foundations of photography but they exhibit real skill with the medium. The images are eclectic in subject but all are wonderful expressions."

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