Extending The Eye: Exhibition by Martha Schnee

Extending The Eye: Exhibition by Martha Schnee

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“To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge — and, therefore, like power.” – Susan Sontag

Driving is an act facilitated by mirrors.

Almost every car has three that help the driver to pilot the machine and move through space more easily. But mine had four. In January, I drove across the United States, from Boston to San Fransisco. After taking a wrong turn in the emptiness of South Carolina, I ended up at a junk shop where I purchased the mirror that would become central to my photographs.

Photography is also an act facilitated by mirrors.

Almost every reflex camera has one. In a photograph, however, the machine and operator freeze the subject into an indefinite still. Something is captured, taken, appropriated from the moment. As a photographer, I have struggled with the moral implications of this act. Why am I in a position to literally take others´ images? Is this justifiable? What kind of power is at play?

Although the mirror does not physically appear in every image from my journey, it has informed each of them. It exists not only as a comparison point, but also as a way to bring the above underlying questions into the forefront of the image– for the photographer, the subject, and the viewer.

As the photographer, the mirror pushed me to converse with my subjects, to not covertly shoot people I did not gain photographic consent from. It allowed me to be more deliberate, to explain. In handing the subject the mirror, I allowed them to physically see themselves during the moment when I was taking their very physicality from them. I hoped to return the image while taking it.


About Marta Schnee:

Currently a college student at Bates College in Maine, USA temporarily living in Berlin.

The photographs are black and white silver gelatin prints on 8 x 10 paper, shot in 35mm film´with my grandfathers old Pentax SF10 SLR.

Artist webpage
Blog


Friday, May 09th

Opening:

Haltestelle Aviatrix with
Lord Youth and
DOVE THROUGH SNOW

Tsvetana Gugutkova (vocals/guitar)
& Jordan Lee Schnee (vocals/guitar/banjo)

Trans-Atlantic folk music of the future heard in the far-flung mountains of the past.