I am a fan of Gayle Stevens. Smart, talented, creative and unique. She is a rock star in my book. Her work is stunning, I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Her constructions are complex and thoughtful, her tonality in her wet plates is rich and dense. She begs you to take a closer look at her objects, her stories. She has been on my radar for years, and she should be on yours too.
Our Nocturnes series began as an experiment, an adventure, a collaboration. A pinhole camera-maker and a wet-plate collodion artist collaborated to produce mammoth plate tintypes, echoing the work and process of the early survey photographers. Carleton Watkins, William Henry Jackson, and Timothy O’Sullivan, surveying the expansive landscape of the western US, found themselves at the mercy of nature. James McNeill Whistler, inspired by the visual melody he found in dark skies and seas, titled many of his paintings nocturnes. In turn, these paintings provided inspiration for the orchestral nocturnes written by Debussy, musical impressions which ebb and flow. Inspired by these artists and the waters of the gulf in Pass Christian Mississippi we too found ourselves at the mercy of the tides, our images determined by the capriciousness of the water before us. Because of its infinite depth of field, the pinhole camera conveys the vast expanse of the sea while the collodion-silver emulsion flows across the plate like the waves across the sand. The plates delivered an unexpected serendipity –a daytime nighttime, a sunny moonscape. There is ebb and flow between night and day, dark and light, as silent sentinels watch waves writing verse in the sand. This push and pull of tides, this melody of the waves, this lyric creates a visual dialogue that is the inspiration for Nocturnes, a little night music.
One year ago, Judy Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens embarked on a new adventure, a collaboration entitled Nocturnes, born of the gulf in Pass Christian Mississippi. Stevens a wet plate collodion artist and Sherrod a pinhole camera maker joined together to create something not done before mammoth plate pinhole wet plate tintypes. They have been very successful at it. Their collaboration has yielded publication in South by Southeast magazine, Lenscratch, and will be included in the next edition of Christopher James, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. Exhibitions include: Alternative Processes at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Ft Collins where they were awarded Both Director’s and Juror’s Honorable Mention, Finalist in Critical Mass, Beheld at Homespace Gallery, Call and Response at New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, Center Forward, V at Homespace, Currents 2012 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Sun to Moon Gallery among others. Over the course of a year the duet shot 49, twenty by twenty inch pinhole tintypes of the gulf.
For more about the fabulous Gayle Stevens, please log onto her website.