Sunday, November 7, 2010

Risa Morales presents Christine Shank

 I saw the work of Christine Shank on the walls of JusticeWorks Studios, here in San Antonio, this First Friday and had to take a second look.  What seems to be popular in photography, right now, is to take images of life-size objects, and use the ability of a 4x5 camera tilt-shift to make it seem miniaturized.  At first cursory glance, Shank's work looks similar.  And then you realize that the objects she is taking images of  are miniature, and that she simply uses a shallow depth of field for her work.

With this realization in mind, I went back and closely inspected each image.  What I found was a playful intellect, and a literal attention to fine details.  These photographs tell open-ended stories of something that has occured, each setup a completely considered environment.  The use of realistic dollhouse furniture and rooms gives this work the ability to be completely immersive, without the effort or expense of setting up such situations in a real place (although I know dollhouse stuff isn't exactly cheap and working on such a tiny scale isn't exactly easy either!).  Additionally, the use of a dollhouse (especially when combined with the image titles) adds a bit of quiet humor to the work, while bringing implications of presence and emptiness, observation and interaction.

The lighting in each image is carefully considered, and constructed to help the viewer believe they are looking at a life-size scene.  Each image is 24 x 30 and the print quality and color considerations are exquisite.

Technical skill? Fantastic.  Concept? Captivating.  I'm totally sold.

Check it out here:

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