Towards a Philosophy of Photography – November 2021

Noah McLaurine
Join us for the opening on Thursday, November 4th at 6:00 pm

May I make a confession? I don’t really know how cameras work. Despite an MFA from a prestigious art school, despite years running the photography labs of another, despite shamelessly introducing myself as a ‘photographer’ to anyone I meet, I can honestly say that I do not understand how my chosen artistic medium works. Sure, I understand that a lens focuses light by bending light rays to concentrate them in a certain area, and yes, I totally get that thin strips of metal open and close, often fantastically fast, in order to shine that focused light through the lens onto a surface. But this is where I start having trouble, as that surface is somehow able to capture and fix that light, to transform it into an image, a two-dimensional thing that simulates, but does not precisely replicate, what I see. After all, a digital sensor is a piece of silicone and rare earth metals that absorbs light and somehow moves that light along a series of other metals, eventually transmuting said light into a recognizable simulacra of reality. 

A simulacra whose basis, whose building blocks, are small squares of color that themselves are text, ultimately zeros and ones, rather than whatever quanta our analog reality is composed of. More and more in society we are surrounded by similar objects that help shape and reshape the world countless times over, yet that we cannot truly understand. Objects that are either so complicated a single person cannot hope to understand all of its aspects, or something simply closed off to us by what appear to be laws of existence (although they may just be technological limitations). These things–these black boxes–are increasingly familiar to us, yet we rarely stop to think about the effect they have on us, on society, on culture, on art. My current body of work visually examines these objects, combining and recombining literal and conceptual black boxes until what emerges is something else entirely.

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Gallery 110’s mission is to provide dynamic opportunities to established and emerging professional artists in an environment that encourages creative expression, experimentation, and collaboration. As a nonprofit organization, the gallery fosters artistic and professional connections between its associated artists and the arts community at large through creative dialogue, the presentation of challenging and enriching curated exhibitions, public opportunities, and collaborative projects.