Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sally Hammel's Field Paper

Photo of Owen's Valley (taken from the silos where Lauren Bon took her photos)

Sally Hammel
Field Paper
due by: 5/5/2014

      On Saturday, March 8, 2014, our Art History class visited the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada. We saw several exhibits there, but I was especially interested in the Lauren Bon and the Optics Division's exhibit, "AGH20 ~ Transforming Inert Landscape into Agency" located on the second floor of the museum. The main room of the exhibit cantained three large photos along one wall, several small photos on the opposite wall and an example of the Owen's Valley (Lake) bed in the middle of the floor. There was a small theater next to this exhibit where there was a film being shown about the making of the exhibit. The film was almost one hour long and I sat and watched it for about 20 minutes. I learned from the film, as well as from talking to the docent about the exhibit that the large pictures along the first wall that caught my eye were developed with elements found on the valley floor (sodium diosulfate for the developer and sodium panosulfate for the fixer). This was the fascinating part of this exhibit. The photos were not readily recognizable because the elements made the finish of the photos the first thing that one would notice when viewing them. The finish was gold in color with darker and lighter parts that became a photographic image when one stood back to veiw them as a whole. The picture that I took, the following week, from the same spot shows, essentially, the image that Lauren Bon photographed from the silos located near the Owen's Valley Lake bed.
      This exhibit caught my eye because I travel Highway 395 almost once every other month to visit my mother. I have never stopped at the silos or anywhere near Owens Valley but I was happy to stop there on my way home this time, to look more closely at the spot where this exhibit was formed. I actually thought that the movie, accompanying the exhibit was too long and technical for the average viewer but I loved the fact the Vietnam-era portable U.S. Army darkroom that was used for the film development was actually outside the museum and that we could walk in and see where the work was done.
      I believe that there was too much information included in this exhibit for the average viewer but I was actually fascinated by the use of elements found on the valley floor to develop pictures and I do have a personal interest in the Owens Valley as I drive through it so often. I think the level of participation succeeded in making me want to follow through with my own photograph of the same spot. I couldn't get right down to the silos as the road was blocked, but I got as close as I could and enjoyed the view. 

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