Living in the Interval
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.
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.
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