A collection of photographs by Tom Kalb will be on display at The Spring Street Gallery beginning Sunday, July 1 through July 11. The show is titled “Another Nature.” An opening reception will be held on Sunday, July 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Gallery.
Kalb describes himself as “a black and white film photographer. I use old equipment, including a Pentax 6×7 120mm medium format, and Nikon F 35mm SLR, metering with a zone system Pentax spotmeter. I like their slow and clunky feel, as they enforce a deliberate process that demands my attention to detail. I do the negatives in the attic and use the darkroom enlargers in New York City to prepare the images. I do my own mats and framing. There is no point-and-shoot here.”
“I focus on two locations: Block Island and New York City, but this show is all Block Island. Although these are contrasting locales, the images reflect my overall interest in visual processing, and how the mind’s eye draws attention to beauty and art. By this I mean how do we take in shadows, figures and lines on the flat surface and place meaning and derive emotional response to this truncated and rather unnatural input.”
The show’s title, “Another Nature,” is taken from an early essay by Walter Benjamin, who was writing in the tumultuous time between the wars in the first half of the 20th century, just as photography was taking a legitimate seat at the artists’ table.
“I have always been drawn to the special glow that envelops Block Island at first light and dusk, and his essays brought new illumination. Benjamin’s thesis evinced the psychic life projected onto film. He saw this in the unconscious choices that accompany each step of the photographic process,” Kalb said. “Some of his writing resonates with my experience as a photographer. I might not perceive everything that can be observed as the shutter clicks, but the image and its recesses are revealed piecemeal from some dark place [literally, the negative/ the darkroom] only after the multiple steps of processing the film, screening the negatives, developing the proof, and working on the final print. In this show, I suspect a bit of my inner nature develops on paper through my immersion in this lovely island. If all goes well, I get to discover what was in my mind.”
Short essays also accompany the art, which Kalb said “are meant to share what I encountered as I went through the steps to create these works, offering both my inner reflection and outer vision of another nature.”