Friday, October 17, 2008

Layer Slayer

I saw a wonderful show of new photographs by Richard Benson last night. The show runs at Pace MacGill until November, 29 The photographs are all color landscapes. They were made with a simple Canon 35mm digital camera. What makes these pictures especially unique is the way in which they are printed. An excerpt from the gallery's press release gives some explanation and description:

"For Benson, the relationship between a picture's content and the method by which the picture is made is paramount. He uses an ink jet printer configured to print a single image in successive stages. A skeleton of pigment is initially laid on the paper, and color is gradually added each time it subsequently passes through the printer. Benson literally builds his photographs..."

A final print might travel 9 times thru the printer. To keep the image in register is no small feat. Benson had to make his own machine parts and graft them into the guts of the printer. The prints are essentially made in a fashion similar to the way in which a painter would construct a painting. They have a unique tactile quality that makes them unlike any others. I love that he is making "traditional" pictures by fully embracing all aspects of contemporary digital technology. And then using a contemporary ink jet printer to make prints that are made in layers the way images had been made before the advent of photography.

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