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Field Recordings

Photographer Bryan Graf's intoxicatingly tinted view of nature in an NYC solo show

by Jonah Samson in Design on 15 June 2011

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Bryan Graf uses nature to make photos that are incredibly beautiful without being overly romantic. In his 2010 series "Wildlife Analysis," the artist's photographic studies of the woods and swamps around his native New Jersey using black and white film might sound like an austere treatment of familiar subjects—plants, flowers, butterflies and deer—until you see the densely-layered end result.

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To achieve the gorgeously re-imagined everyday scenes, Graf (who honed his skills with Yale's MFA program) makes color negatives without a lens which exposes the film directly to ambient light. Bringing the two negatives together in the darkroom creates images reminiscent of photographic screw-ups like light leaks and double exposures. In Graf's hands however, dizzying abstract patterns of light and color flow across the paper, introducing an array of hallucinatory hues rarely seen in contemporary photography.

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Images from Wildlife Analysis, along with a selection of Polaroid "sketches" from "The Sun Room: Interchanges, B-Sides & Remixes" and a sculptural piece called "An Encyclopedia of Gardening" are currently on view in the exhibition "Field Recordings" at NYC's Yancey Richardson Gallery until 15 July 2011.

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