Watch for works by pho­tog­ra­phers Dane Span­gler and El­ida Han­son-Finelli

Tempo - - CONTENTS - By Vir­ginia L. Clark

The art ban­ner fer­vor run­ning through Taos these days brings down­town gal­leries and stu­dio artists into high re­lief, nicely punc­tu­at­ing spring ski­ing en­thu­si­asm with ex­quis­ite procla­ma­tions of our year-round artist colony per­sona. That shouldn’t be a sur­prise ex­cept to the newer mil­len­ni­als ven­tur­ing into the South­west for the first time.

While look­ing into the artists be­hind the ban­ner im­agery, be sure to check out two new ex­hibits of pho­to­graphic love (re­fer­ring to Ansel Adams fa­mous quote, “When I make a picture, I make love …”) be­ing fea­tured on Kit Car­son Road through April: the work of pho­tog­ra­phers Dane Span­gler at Amoré Gallery and El­ida Han­son-Finelli at Dragon­fly Blue.

Han­son-Finelli has an eye for the de­li­cious and the long view. Ti­tled, “The Beauty of Heaven is Spread Upon the Earth,” her ex­hibit opened Feb. 4 and runs through April.

“My pho­tog­ra­phy skills grew pri­mar­ily from pas­sion and in­spi­ra­tion,” she notes in her artist state­ment on­line, adding in an email af­ter our in­ter­view that her fo­cus is now pure beauty.

“Most of the sub­ject mat­ter I have ex­hib­ited since start­ing this por­tion of my life and cre­ative jour­ney has been about doc­u­ment­ing the beauty I see around me,” Han­son-Finelli said. “It is the emo­tion I feel, trans­lated into the prints when first com­ing upon a scene. I have en­deav­ored in times past to cover the heartache and more down­trod­den parts of the world, but it seems not to be where my heart is nor my forté. Oth­ers have ex­celled at it, not me. I feel my place, at least for the mo­ment is to doc­u­ment the beauty that sur­rounds us and is of­ten over­looked. Also, these places will even­tu­ally dis­ap­pear!”

Re­tired to Taos af­ter 45 years as a TWA flight at­ten­dant, Han­son-Finelli be­gan pho­tog­ra­phy mid­ca­reer, but traces its ear­li­est and per­haps deep­est in­flu­ences to child­hood, to her fa­ther’s avid ama­teur pho­tog­ra­phy and the cre­ativ­ity sparked by a dark room’s tech­no­log­i­cal in­trigues.

“I made the dig­i­tal tran­si­tion around 2004, and although there are still as­pects of film I miss, the pres­ence of dig­i­tal in our world and the di­ver­sity of con­trol it has af­forded my work makes it my cur­rent medium.” That, plus she found her­self with­out her own dark­room and hated send­ing her work off to be “touched” by hands other than her own, shows the depth and breadth of her com­mit­ment to be true to her art.

Equally com­mit­ted to per­sonal vi­sion and ex­cel­lence, Dane Span­gler’s work re­veals an un­end­ing ex­pan­sive­ness at the thresh­old be­tween his in­ner eye and so-called outer world. Here are prac­ti­cally Tolkienesque sen­si­bil­i­ties mar­ried to off-world plan­e­tary ex­plo­rations, all found here on Earth but trans­lated through a highly ro­man­tic ex­plorer and vi­sion­ary lens.

“I seek mo­ments when sky en­gages land in amaz­ing ways,” he said dur­ing an in­ter­view at Amoré, adding, “if there’s noth­ing hap­pen­ing in the sky, there’s no shot.”

He once waited five days for a shot to de­velop in the Te­tons with no luck. Then, on im­pulse, he drove 500 miles in the pour­ing rain and got nearly a 360-de­gree rain­bow “stitched” to­gether from the rich red rocks of Cany­on­lands, Utah.

He as­cribes his most suc­cess­ful work to syn­chronic­ity: be­ing in the right place at the right time, such as be­ing in Taos. “One gets called to Taos,” he said, not­ing how three rain­bows over San Cristóbal pointed him to­ward his cur­rent abode.

“Taos is a su­per-nor­mal kind of ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said, vis­it­ing here be­fore start­ing his ca­reer as an ar­chi­tec­tural il­lus­tra­tor. “Taos has al­ways been a place I loved, and then I moved here al­most 20 years af­ter first see­ing a sun­set in the Rio Grande Gorge.”

He’s ex­tremely choosy: “If it doesn’t “blow my socks off I don’t put it on the wall.”

“I use a high-res­o­lu­tion pro­fes­sional dig­i­tal cam­era and a panoramic tri­pod head to cre­ate ul­tra-high res­o­lu­tion im­ages. This en­ables me to print very large and re­tain a truly amaz­ing level of de­tail. All pho­to­graphs are min­i­mally ad­justed to ob­tain the most nat­u­ral color and tone. In an age where dig­i­tal ma­nip­u­la­tion can make any­thing pos­si­ble,” he said, “I want to find ‘im­pos­si­ble’ mo­ments that are real: to present im­ages that re­mind us that the nat­u­ral world is an awesome, lu­mi­nous story, a dy­namic liv­ing en­tity of won­der and power.”

Works for me.


‘GOOD NIGHT SWEET PRINCE,’ archival inks on mu­seum qual­ity acid-free pa­per by El­ida Han­son-Finelli


‘DIVA 1,’ Devil’s Tower Na­tional Park, Wy­oming, dig­i­tal print on archival me­dia by Dane Span­gler

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