‘Dazzle of Day’ exhibit lives up to its name

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At “Dazzle of Day,” students are encouraged to draw their own meaning from the photographs presented without title or explanation.

“The Dazzle of Day” photography exhibition at Southwestern College highlighted the work of three artists with local ties.

Paul Turouret, Craig Carlson and Shane Anderson, have collections that were connected by the use of natural light and documentary style.

Bare white walls of the interior of the gallery allowed framed photographs to be the room’s focal points. Instead of labels to identify or describe the pieces, each photograph was accompanied solely with a small numbered thumbtack. Professor of Photography Micajah Truitt encouraged viewers to approach with an open mind.

“Be careful to think that there is a concrete purpose to every photo,” he said. “A lot of the media presented to us has a reason or purpose behind it, almost like skill set similar to advertisers. It is good to analyze the world and make our own decisions instead of just absorbing what is thrown at us.”

Subjectivity versus objectivity was a theme that ran through the three collections.

Although the photographs were presented without title, attribution or explanation, they were numbered so that attendees could look up the pieces in a guidebook available at the front desk in order to learn the story behind the photo.

“Something Out There, Something is Happening,” shot by Turouret, had a sense of purpose.

His photo series explored “our inherent spirit and psyche of the contemporary American social scene during a time of hope and change and whether that past is truly prologue.”

“Pulse Nightclub, Orlando Florida,” was a particularly haunting photo which depicted the hollow silver shells of empty candles.

Carlson’s “Pedestrian Project” captured daily aspects and behaviors of pedestrians as they walked the famous Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Some of Carlson’s photos were printed as raw film, a strip or sheet of transparent plastic, ensuring no alteration to the images.

“Carlson is objective in the way he mentally and physically approaches his photographs,” Truitt said. “When he shoots, he spends time at the street corner and holds the camera at his waist and shoots from there.”

Photographs featured at “Dazzle of Day” varied greatly in subject matter and composition. Paul Turouret, Craig Carlson and Shane Anderson were the three professional photographers whose pieces were presented at the art gallery.

Carlson’s photos appeared deceptively haphazard and had a real world feel.

Anderson’s collection, “Del Rio,” was an exploration on the land surrounding the San Diego River, covering themes including homelessness, exploitation, environmental impacts, how humans impacted geography and the effects of Spanish colonizers on Native Americans.

“I don’t know what the collection is yet, but I absolutely love it,” Anderson said. “I love exploring, finding new places and seeing new people.”

Anderson said his collection was dictated by the geographical terrain of the area with a minimal amount of direction. Many of his shots are spontaneous, he said. The goal of this collection was to produce a book that depicts the river in a series of photos.

“I hope some people see it as a tragedy, but I also hope some people see it as beauty,” he said. “I am still trying to figure out how I feel about it, but that is the hope, to spark discussion.”

“The Dazzle of Day” was a refreshing depiction of how beauty and complexity can be found in the ordinary items and scenes around us. Photo manipulation and the ease with which any image can be altered allows photos to show or say anything, but this gallery reminds the audience that  real beauty is everywhere.

“It is weird to think that parts of everyday life have parts that are so beautiful,” Truitt said. “It is fun to think you can take the mundane and make it shine.”

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