Liv­ing in the In­ter­val

Arabella - - CLAUDE LANGEVIN - writ­ten by Gary Michael Dault

Pho­tog­ra­phers in­vari­ably find them­selves - rather the way ar­chi­tects do - walk­ing a some­times rather frayed and un­cer­tain line be­tween art and tech­nol­ogy. Cam­eras and cam­era equip­ment have grown so daz­zlingly com­plex in these digital years, that you pretty much need a de­gree in as­tro­physics to ne­go­ti­ate the pro­grams they em­body and of­fer us. Award-win­ning pho­tog­ra­pher Peter Dusek was born in Bratislava, Slo­vakia in 1967. He came to this coun­try when he was seven. His was al­ready ei­ther play­ing the or­gan in church or wield­ing a sax­o­phone in bands and “play­ing in the pit or­ches­tra for the local theatre.” He now lives in the beau­ti­ful Hock­ley Val­ley north of Toronto, where he spends much of his life in the nearby wilder­ness, tak­ing pho­to­graphs. He rides a mo­tor­cy­cle, a dirt bike, drives a Jeep - of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by both his wife, Vic­to­ria, and his beloved dog, a golden doodle named Daisy - and wields a 50 Megapixel Canon digital

ease of a child with a box of crayons. For Dusek, tech­nol­ogy is no big deal - and cer­tainly no pro­ce­dural chal­lenge. As he sees it, tech­no­log­i­cal so­phis­ti­ca­tion is a gift, and one that is brac­ingly ea­ger to cater to our mul­ti­far­i­ous needs.

The Con­trast

This ro­man­tic ca­su­al­ness about hi-tech cam­era equip­ment and pro­cesses is high­lighted all the more, in Dusek’s case, by the fact that what he makes with all his cut­ting-edge equip­ment are pho­to­graphs that evoke the pro­duc­tive si­lences, the gen­er­a­tive in­ti­ma­cies, the clar­i­fy­ing ruminations and the emo­tional nour­ish­ment that comes from a rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent ap­proach to the world than is nor­mally pro­vided by the hec­tic and hap­less lives of quiet Asked to en­cap­su­late the es­sen­tial na­ture of his art, Dusek replied “My art is a se­ries of toned black and white pho­to­graphs whose goal is to show the world that ex­ists in the midst of the chaos, busy­ness and over­load of mod­ern life.” He speaks of his re­course to “neg­a­tive space” in his pho­to­graphs, but has­tens to point out that this neg­a­tive space is not just empty back­ground he refers to as pic­to­rial “down­time.” With­out this neg­a­tive space or down­time, he ex­plains, “we just end­lessly rush to and fro and have no time to pause and think for our­selves. With­out that space be­tween ac­tiv­i­ties…we all be­come tells us to be.” What Dusek cre­ates is pause.

Ma

Dusek’s “neg­a­tive space” is closely akin to what Ja­panese cul­ture calls “Ma,” a word which can be roughly trans­lated as "gap," "space," "pause" or "the space be­tween two struc­tural parts." As

Pre­vi­ous Page, Un­rav­el­ling, pho­to­graph, right, Three Sis­ters, pho­to­graph

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