Last Thursday was the opening reception of “Gone Fischin’,” an exhibition showcasing work made by photography students in SCAD professor, Tom Fischer’s, Large Format Photography Technique II class. Savannah’s electric energy, fed by the end of the SCAD Winter quarter and the pending St. Patrick’s Day madness, carried into Oglethorpe Gallery, where the students, their friends and professors gathered to celebrate the works created over the past 10 weeks.
While all the images exhibited were photographed using large format view cameras (either 4×5 or 8×10 film cameras) they pulled inspiration from a wide range of photographic styles and techniques. Black and white images on display covered a host of subjects from landscape and architecture to subtle, psychological images. Both splashy and subdued color images explored portraiture, traditional and man-made landscapes. The exhibition also showed off the students’ penchant for experimental printing techniques. On view were several types of photographic transfers and emulsion lifts resulting in prints on a variety of surfaces like metal, wood, glass, and even leaves.
Some highlights from the exhibition include Sarah Gardner’s beautiful portraits, reminiscent of the Pictorialist style of photography that reigned in the late 1800’s through the turn of the century. Gardner used an alcohol transfer to print her images on glass, then backed them with gold leaf, causing the whites of the images to appear as a shimmering gold.
Also playing with metallic sheen, Scott Barrett’s photo sculpture “The Ruins of Sheldon” captured the otherworldly feel of the Old Sheldon Church Ruins that lie in South Carolina. His choice to present the images in segmented parts reflects the present-day architecture. The gleaming silver background of his images paid homage to the majesty of the site and made it feel as though the old bricks were sparkling in dappled sunlight.
Another standout was Victoria Linaberry, whose encaustic photographs in both black and white and color, transported the viewer to dreamy landscapes. The use of encaustic complemented her images, which showed her embrace of the view camera’s movements, allowing for very selective focus that can often gave a ‘bleary-eyed’ effect.
Exhibitions such as “Gone Fischin'” offer a glimpse into the growth of young artists, allowing the audience to see the work created by students during the 10 week SCAD quarter that often blooms into full artistic statements. This exhibition in particular revealed that the selected group of photographers has been fearlessly experimenting with their craft and with the numerous alternative-printing techniques available through both digital and traditional methods. Speaking with Fischer, he noted with a laugh and a smile, “There was a lot of trial and error- mostly error.”
This exhibition goes to show that sometimes errors can lead one down a path to something beautiful and promising.