Driven towards perfection.
Photography is all about the “perfect shot.” That one moment, frozen in time, that tells a gripping story. Much like other artists, photographers rely on attention to detail and a drive for masterly productions. Yet, art has a sense of humor, it seems. Often the most popular and impactful pieces end up being the ones created through imperfection, gut-feeling, and coincidence.
The University Art Gallery, located next to the Davis Concert Hall on the UAF campus, will host the exhibit “Portraits, Places, and People” until February 15. The aptly named showcase features breathtaking images from photographers Alice Bailey and Ryota Kajita. At the exhibit’s opening reception on Friday, a crowd gathered to enjoy the nearly 100 photographs on view. A photo titled “Mirror Image” by Kajita seemed to be one of the crowd favorites, and drew questions from the group. The picture is of a gorgeous, frozen Alaska mountain perfectly reflecting off a frozen lake. Yet when asked about the pristine photo, the artist pointed out the imperfect acquisition.
“I didn’t think it would turn out. That I would like it,” said Kajita. “I took it by hand. I wanted to use a tripod. I brought a tripod. But I took the one by hand.”
Bailey’s photos focus mainly on portraits. She has found an uncanny and grasping way to take everyday Alaskans and use a still shot to tell viewers their entire story. From the outdoorsy settings and backgrounds to the hardened look of the Alaska lifestyle, Bailey freezes it eternally.
Kajita’s collection features some portraits, but his most powerful material includes his nature photography and wintertime stills. People were drawn to his photos of snow formations (my favorite, “Fisherman’s Buoy” shows a amazing contrast using color and a dense snowscape) and extreme close-ups of river ice crystals.
When asked at the end of a busy, well-received opening day if he would have done anything different for the exhibit, he had one quick answer. “I would have got bigger prints,” said Kajita. “I’m making bigger prints.”
Imperfections are things you hide. But perfection, when achieved…you are going to want to see that again large-sized!
*Show is ongoing daily until Friday, February 15th at University Art Gallery in the Fine Arts Building (campus map) -For more information, contact the gallery/art department at (907) 474-7530