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Currently on Display - PART SIX

Currently on Display is our on-going weekly feature investigating the individual works that are included in the show currently on display at photo-eye Gallery. These artist features include the images selected for this exhibition as well as the artists' thoughts and inspirations behind the individual image or images.

The featured images this week are: Eva, La Porge, France 2003 by Jock Sturges, Torn Poster, Road to Villa Real, 1995 and Donkey Grazing, Road to Miranda, 1995 by Mark Klett and August 25th, Spring Bamboo Boat by Don Hong-Oai.

Jock Sturges
Eva, La Porge, France 2003 by Jock Sturges
"A photographer with a camera, a model without clothes.

To my way of thinking, if the photographer speaks by suggesting, controlling, imposing pose, the model is not heard. The photographer's ideas are heard. Seen. But how much truth is there? We all have a relentless appetite for truth after all. We want to know: what is true, what is false, what is honest, what is deceit – or the lesser crime of conceit.

To my way of thinking, if the photographer accepts what the model does naturally then the image is by definition at the very least far closer to the truth. The model is heard. Visible. Is this easy? No.

Relationships take time and accrued trust – and trust does not happen in a blink. It coalesces from shared experience over time. When first we meet we are always a cipher to one another. As the years pass, that mask is worn away by experience and we come to know one another. One does not trust strangers with the truth of self after all. This is only conferred on those whom we have come to know mean us no harm. Who respect and even love us.

What truth is here in this little portrait of Eva, made in a canal in Southwestern France? She is naked because she and her family are naturists and spend their summers in a resort dedicated to the absence of shame. So her deshabille is honest, natural to her circumstance. But this is only the second year I had worked with her so there remains a natural wariness in the turn of her head, the angle of her eyes. I saw her look back at me as she played with her hair as it glided through her hand and asked her quickly, ardently, not to move. She did not.

As the years and my relationship with her and her family progressed she would become one of the best models with whom I have ever worked. She, the truth of her, is remarkable, my luck in knowing her enormous." -Jock Sturges, Seattle, 2011

See more images from Jock Sturges here.

Mark Klett
Torn Poster, Road to Villa Real, 1995 by Mark Klett
"In 1995 I was asked by the Portuguese Center for Photography to photograph the Douro River area in Portugal, the place where Port wine grapes are grown. I had a rental car and spent over a week on the road driving and exploring this area of northern Portugal. I saw this torn poster on a tree and stopped. I don't know what the poster was advertising, parts of it were gone, but I liked the jagged edge the woman appeared to be looking at."

Donkey Grazing, Road to Miranda, 1995 by Mark Klett
"I was driving towards the town of Miranda and I saw this open field with a donkey in the middle just standing there, very still. The grain had been cut recently and there were several animals grazing on the stubble. In the background a small stand of trees stood out like a brow.

For both pictures I was using a hand held camera that used Polaroid film, the old type 665 that gave both a negative and a positive. After I made the exposures I processed each negative on-site, and put the negatives in a bucket of solution to clear and for storage. Each night in whatever hotel I ended up in I'd wash the negatives and hang them up to dry." -Mark Klett

See more work by Mark Klett here.

Don Hong-Oai (1929-2004)
August 25th, Spring Bamboo Boat by Don Hong-Oai
Mr. Don was born in Canton, China in 1929, but spent most of his life in Saigon, Vietnam. As a young boy in Saigon he was apprenticed to a photography studio. He stayed in Vietnam through the war, but fled by boat to California in 1979. He lived in San Francisco's Chinatown where he had a small darkroom to create his photographs. While living the US he returned to China every few years to make new negatives. Only in the last few years of his life was his work discovered by a wider public, and he was kept very busy making prints for collectors across the US and elsewhere. Mr. Don passed away in June 2004.

The photographs of Don Hong-Oai are made in a unique style of photography, which can be considered Asian pictorialism. This method of adapting a Western art for Eastern purposes probably originated in the 1940s in Hong Kong. One of its best-known practitioners was the great master Long Chin-San (who died in the 1990s at the age of 104) with whom Don Hong-Oai studied. With the delicate beauty and traditional motifs of Chinese painting (birds, boats, mountains, etc.) in mind, photographers of this school used more than one negative to create a beautiful picture, often using visual allegories. Realism was not a goal.

Don Hong-Oai was one of the last photographers to work in this manner. He is also arguably the best. He was honored by Kodak, Ilford and at Fotokina in West Germany and was a member of the International Federation of Photographic Art in Switzerland and the Chinatown Photographic Society.

See more work from Don Hong-Oai here.

Please contact me if you would like additional information or would like to receive email updates about Jock Sturges, Mark Klett or Don Hong-Oai.

Anne Kelly, Associate Director photo-eye Gallery

*Next week's blog post will conclude the currently on display series. The featured artists next week will be Jamey Stillings and Edward Ranney.

Read the first five posts:
PART ONE - Jo Whaley and David Trautrimas
PART TWO - Tom Chambers and Laurie Tümer
PART THREE - Hiroshi Watanabe, Michael Levin and Julie Blackmon
PART FOUR –Zöe Zimmerman, James Pitts and Kevin O'Connell
PART FIVE – Nick Brandt and Raymond Meeks