Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Caleb Charland: Inquisitive & Blasphemous
Caleb Charland’s physical manifestation of scientific curiosity is made of light and time
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Wonder is the precise name for the sensation Charland wants his viewers to experience. Images such as "Attempting To Paddle Straight at the Moon, 2010" are interesting enough to draw viewers in on their own, but the clues the photographer leaves within the frame and title shore up the wonder-filled experience.
For this image, Charland secured his camera to a canoe and paddled for two hours. The concept is simple and the effect, dramatic; this makes for wonder.
"That was on Hopkins Pond," Charland says, "a pond here in Maine where my folks have a little summer cabin. I spent three or four nights; it was the full moon at the end of June 2010. The first couple of nights, I didn't really know what I was doing; I didn't even know if it was going to work, so I just did laps around the pond. Then the third or fourth night, I was like, oh, what if I make this into this contest with myself and I try to stay in that moonlight path that comes down on the water. So I spent about two hours just trying to slowly keep the canoe going toward the moon. It just seemed like a beautiful gesture."
"I think that's the sensation," he says. "You're not quite informed yet, but you're not totally uncertain. You know something is happening, but you haven't defined it yet. I think the image begins in that gap. I've heard wonder described as that state of being. I want to place viewers in that gap; they can travel with me through the making of the image. Maybe the gap is that place between the image plane and the title card, right where the viewer stands in the gallery.
"I obviously want the image to draw them closer to the gallery wall," Charland adds, "but when they get there, hopefully they become kind of a visual detective. In some pieces, I'll try to leave as much of my process in the image as I can and give a little clue with the title. I hope people are intrigued and it gets their mind going. That's why we go look at paintings—to go somewhere else for a little while."
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