I had recently wrote about a photographic group critique that I attend at the Irvine Fine Arts Center (IFAC) for a non-profit organization call the Photographers Exchange. We had the opportunity to actual have this meeting in person to show and discuss physical prints for the first time since the pandemic shut-down in 2020. Perhaps I am just a member of what I will call the ‘print-generation’, but there is something magical about looking at a physical print that incorporates the almost intangible attributes of ink on paper, especially when the surface qualities of the paper work with a printed image.
At the last Photographers Exchange meeting, I found myself very intrigued by the black and white photographic print Boulder, Creek, Limekiln State Park, California, which was photographed by Roger Bennett. Although this is a low contrast image, it strangely glowed under the high intensity lights. I suspect that the exhibition lighting increased the reflection values for the tops of the boulders mid-stream, while the remainder of the print fell into darkness that simulated a higher contrast image than what was actually present.
The resulting photograph is a natural landscape that could have been seen in the deep shadows of a forest or has a low-contrast appearance of being lite by moonlight. The composition is wonderful in how the diagonal flow of the water bisects the pictorial frame with the running water and wet rocks framed by the adjacent leaves. The highlights on the two central rocks does keep that as the center of interest. The scale of what we are looking at is also ambiguous, as we might suspect that this creek is not very wide, yet we do not know just how fast this water is running and the resulting sounds it might be making.
Thus, I find that in addition to it looking similar to a ‘classical’ running water photograph, due to the darker subdued tonal values, creates a bit more of a sense of mystery. I also find that this moody photograph allows a more introspective mediative moment and I find myself wondering what it might be like to be sitting next to this stream listening to this water flow over these rocks.
Bennett has a web-site http://www.lensimages.com and is on Facebook (@Rogerbennettfineartphotography) but does not have gallery representation at this time.