Capturing some semblance of reality

Fill a town with interesting characters and talented photographers, and a bevy of photo shows are bound to spill forth, right?

Not exactly, says Sulfur Studios co-founder Emily Earl.

Personally, I’d like to see a lot more photography exhibitions happening in Savannah, but clearly I am very biased!” laughs Earl.

Fortunately for us, Earls adding a much-needed photography show to the mix.

Sulfurs second photography show ever, Semblance, opens Jan. 7 and features photographs by Emily Earl, Geoff L. Johnson, Cedric Smith, and Christine Hall.

Earl developed the idea for the show with Sulfur partners AJ Perez and Jennifer Moss.

We were talking about upcoming shows for 2016, what we had shown so far and what we wanted to show that we hadnt gotten a chance to in our first year,explains Earl.

The studio hadnt exhibited any photography, which, in retrospect, seems impossible given the variety of shows held there in its inaugural year.

Earl collaborated with recent studio space renter Johnson to choose their personal favorite photographers to add to the show. Smith and Hall made the cut.


Cedric Smith


These are photographers who have been on the scene for quite a while, artists who are making a living off of their work while also making beautiful personal work,says Earl.

All the photographs in the show are portraits, but each artists approach is different.

I havent seen everyone elses work thats been put in the show,says Smith, so itll be interesting to see how we shoot people differently.

Earl notes the different levels of intimacy between the subject and photographer in each portrait.

Some of us get a little closer, a little more personal, while others kind of look on from further away,she explains. I can definitely see in Cedric’s work where his experience as a painter influences the way he shoots. I think Geoff is a little more documentary style, making order out of chaos, and Christine is more soft and sentimental her work has beautiful tonality.

Earl is definitely spot-on about the otherswork. Her own Late Night Polaroids series, notorious around Savannah for portraying nightlife, capture casual moments in black and white and give off a 1970s vibe thanks to the Polaroid ProPack camera she uses.


Emily Earl


I realized really quickly that the camera itself was attracting all these people,she recalls. I guess you dont see a fold-out camera with bellows much these days, so the camera made it easy to get all types of people to agree to having their photo taken.

One of the standout photos of that series is of three girls wearing cutoff shorts and knee-highs, clustered together with one drinking out of a tiny airplane bottle. Its an instant shot of vintage nostalgia and captures the 1970s high-school experience as well as a photograph from the new millennium could.

Smiths series, She Shall Be Called Woman,inspired that same sort of volunteer spirit. The set features women ages 19 to 63 and  He loves photographing people who dont like having their picture taken.

Theyre a challenge,he says. They can see that its not that they dont take good photographs, its the photographer taking it. As a society, were hard on ourselves, but you have to learn to embrace what youve got, and thats the beauty I try to show in my photographs.


Christine Hall


His portrait of Camille, also black and white, is so high definition that her pores glisten in the light and give her skin a velvety look.

Smiths portraits tend to capture moments with facial expressions, whereas Halls photographs include a lot of detail that make the portraits feel more personal. One photo in her portfolio includes a young girl on a pier holding a baby doll and shouting; all the elements combine to create a youthful, summery moment. Many of her subjects, particularly in her First Lightseries, are children making some kind of a face; these photos feel the most organic and unfiltered.

Johnsons portrait of Robyn Reeder is of her back, but the fashionistas style is still visible shes wearing a yarn, Princess Leia-like headband around her blonde mohawk and a lacy white dress.



Geoff L. Johnson


A perfect example of Johnsons ability to concentrate energy is his photograph of the crowd at St. Patricks Day, famous in Savannah for being the most chaotic day of the year. In this image, the crowd seems pared down and the revelers are suspended in time for one peaceful moment.

Thats the common link between these striking pieces: capturing that one peaceful moment, wherever it may be.


Semblance at Sulfur Studios
Open January 7 – 16
Opening Reception: Friday, January 8, 6 – 9pm

Rachael Flora

Author: Rachael Flora

Rachael is a recent Armstrong grad and works as the Events editor at Connect Savannah. She's an Ohio native and likes being somewhere a bit warmer. In her spare time, she likes to read classic novels, perfect her photography, and watch Netflix in bed.

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  1. Art Roundup: Jan. 8 – 14 | Savannah Art Informer - […] Sulfur Studios will hold an opening reception for Semblance, a group photography show, on Friday, January 8 from 6…

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