Monday, March 10, 2014

Man Ray in Canton

Man Ray Opening On Friday my friend Josh I and I headed down to Canton to take in the opening of 'Man Ray: A Surreal Vision' at the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography. The show consisted of photogravures pulled from a limited edition book of Man Ray's work. I've never been a giant Man Ray fan but thought that maybe seeing his work in person might change my mind. To be honest it didn't. I more appreciate him in a historical way than on a simple aesthetic level. I'm well aware that his Rayograms(photograms) and solarizations were innovative at the time - but they are also some of the first techniques we learned in my high school photography class. Its just hard for it to feel fresh or exciting now. You have to know that they are "Man Ray's" to appreciate them. To me the analogy is when Radiohead switched to making records that to me sounded like a bunch of noises - people would say to me "but no one has ever done this before" - and I would say, "I can appreciate that - but it still sounds like a bunch of bleeps and bloops".
I was definitely more fond of Man Ray's portrait work - but even those don't blow me away.

Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography We probably ended up spending twice the time viewing the rest of the amazing photographs in the gallery outside of the exhibit. Joseph Saxton has a great collection of photographs spanning most of the history of photography. A highlight for me were the beautiful Paul Strand prints. I found myself explaining to Josh that though some of Strand's work is pretty "normal" now it was viewed as very refreshing at the time for being very straightforward after the years of pictorialism - and then realized the I was complimenting Strand for the very same reason that I found myself more dismissive of Man Ray. "Well", I said, "I guess I give Strand more credit because it is the type of shots I like to take". All art is subjective... you like what you like.
Beside seeing some classics by Capa, Steiglitz, Tice, McCurry etc(all much better in person than on the 'net) I discovered a few photographers I knew less about - my favorite being an amazing print/image of Martin Luther King Jr. by Ernst Haas. There is a lot there to enjoy for any fan of photography or history here. Canton Arts District 
It was Canton's 'First Friday' in their Arts District and there were people out and about and special events all around. It was very cool. The above shot shows a strip of galleries and shops. I think the combination of good weather and First Friday really brought the crowds out - it wasn't an experience we expected to have in Canton. George's Lounge Finally we ended up at George's Lounge drinking $1 PBRs in the bottle and listening to a couple decent bands. The place is throwback directly to the 1950s right down to the ice-cream parlor-like seating. We texted a knowledgeable friend, "Where should we grab a drink in Canton?" - "George's Lounge," was the reply - we were already there....

No comments: