Henri Cartier-Bresson, the famous French photographer, once said, “There is nothing in life that does not have a decisive moment.” In the spirit of Cartier-Bresson’s insight and the unique power of photography to freeze a moment in time, 5IVE & 40RTY gallery in Winston- Salem has assembled work of some of the most talented photographers from the area for its exhibition entitled, Unframed, Unedited. Gallery owner Amy Garland said the inspiration for the title came from the fact the show was so quickly put together that there simply wasn’t enough time to frame the works by local students as well as amateur and professional photographers — photographs that capture moments of contemporary life. An untitled photo taken by Anastassiya Popova, a native of Kazakhstan and a master of fine arts student at UNCG, illustrates that the best moments captured on film are usually the unexpected ones. The black and white photo of two children sitting on a backyard swing was a happy accident, Popova said. “It was taken in the backyard of a home in the Buena Vista section of Winston-Salem. The boy, Riley, had shown me how he could make those angel wings on the back,” Popova said. When she placed Riley and his sister, Maisy, on the swing together, she asked Riley to show his angel wings. In the photo, the boy is flexing his muscles while gripping the ropes that support the swing. Sunlight reflects off his “angel wings” as he appears to be sheltering his little sister like a guardian angel.
Popova used her Canon 20D digital camera to capture the candid moment of two children at play. “I shoot in color but I see some photographs look so much better in black and white,” Popova said. “A lack of color gives it so much more emotion, so I enjoy that. I look for interesting things, or elemental light that evokes emotion.”
Popova said she’s developed a very personal perspective on Cartier-Bresson’s famous quote about the decisive moment. “It’s that moment in time that we perhaps are not able to grasp — things that I see sometimes between my object and my curiosity with the camera,” she said. Ami Talley, a junior design major at UNCG, has four photographs in the Unframed, Unedited exhibit. In “Lucky Unlucky,” perspective is the key as Talley captured a statue of a police officer with an American flag waving in the background.
“I found a perspective that not anyone would see unless you got up close and personal,” he said. “It was taken from an angle that you had to get up really close to find it. A bird took a nice crap right on the police officer’s head.” “Razor Wire,” a close-up photograph of concertina taken within the confines of a nature reserve in Palm Springs, Calif., makes a statement about fences and barriers. “Sand Trees” captures tree molds in the sand of a Costa Rican beach.
“That was taken on the beach in Costa Rica. I’m not sure what formed the trees but they were formed naturally on the beach,” Talley said. He drew a line in the sand through the naturally formed trees and captured his mark in the photograph. An underground spring or an indigenous animal created the sand tree phenomenon, Talley said. In “Sky Cleaners,” Talley most closely captures the Cartier-Bresson aesthetic of street photography.
“When I’m taking photographs, I ride my bike,” he said. “It’s quicker than walking and more personal than driving. I saw four men cleaning all the windows on this building under construction in downtown Greensboro. It was good timing, but I wish I’d had a better zoom. “One thing I’ve learned a lot about photography — just giving someone a perspective or view that’s more personal.
People pass by these things and glance at them, but to give it something more personal — not something I created but something I witnessed; that’s the only thing that’s important to me,” he said. Talley said he was very appreciative of the opportunity to showcase his work in Unframed, Unedited. The support of Garland and other local gallery owners for student photographers could possibly lead to the discovery of the next Henri Cartier-Bresson right here in the Triad.
“Until this semester, I never thought I could take a photograph worth looking at,” Talley said. “It’s very encouraging.”
KIDS ON SWING: Anastassiya Popova’s photograph “Untitled” and Jason Korff’s photograph entitled “Help” are included in an exhibition entitled Unframed, Unedited at 5IVE & 40RTY gallery in Winston-Salem. The exhibit features work by some of the area’s most promising young photographers and runs through May 30.