Grammar Center Inaugural Event & The Found Image

This past Saturday I attended the inaugural event for The Grammar Center, a new "exhibition and performance space located in Southern Oregon that supports experimentation and exchange." The Center is the joint project of two of my professors from Southern Oregon University, Brooks Diedorff, in photography, and Melissa Geppert, in art history. 

I brought my Fuji X-Pro1 along for the evening with the intent of making pictures to document the occasion, which included a screening of video art works from three different artists, live music following the screening, and (of course) free beer, wine, and snacks. 

During the screening I found myself entranced with the light coming through the window—the privacy film on the window was turning all the headlights and taillights from the cars outside into beautiful abstractions. These blurred lights, along with the pink coming from the fluorescent Grammar Center sign, caught my eye over and over.

People who know me can attest to the fact that I quote Dorothea Lange quite often—both in regards to photography and to life in general. One quote of hers that has always stuck with me, and one that I was holding in my head during the Grammar Center event, is this: "The camera is a tool for learning to see without a camera." 

This idea of learning to see is something that resonates strongly with me and my photography. It seems as though camera technology, as it continues to improve, is making it so that any layperson can pick up a half-decent camera and create a technically sound image—one that is sharp, well-exposed, renders color nicely, and that features creamy bokeh. This being the case, it is all the more vital to me to focus less on these technical aspects and more on what exactly I am choosing to include and exclude in my frame. 

To this end I find myself continually looking for images in the world around me—every passing moment can be an exercise in seeing. Although I would say that I was already a rather visual person before seriously taking up photography, the more I photograph the more beauty I find in the everyday scenes around me. As Dorothea Lange so eloquently put it:

"Beauty appears when one feels deeply, and art is an act of total attention." 

t the end of the evening, I was excited by the artworks that had been screened and for what lies in store for The Grammar Center; I also came away satisfied and content with the visual experience that I had in the space—both through the lens of my Fuji and through the lens of my own eyes.