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Toronto – May 11: Can viewing photographs of nature at a gallery in the centre of Toronto inspire a sense of being outside? The installation of images by Toronto-based photographer Simeon Posen at Gallery Arcturus evokes the movement of water and the intricacy of a forest. His black and white photographs of rivers and trees are displayed with a clear intent to remind viewers what it is to be in a natural space.
Both the photographer and Gallery Arcturus artist-in-residence Deborah Harris have worked in stage design, evidenced by a flowing installation of silver-based prints depicting water rushing. The images are not on the walls -- Harris has chosen to place them on low pedestals across the floor so that the viewer can experience the vantage point of standing on a riverbank. In the next room, transparencies of branches and trunks are displayed in glass prisms placed upon tall pedestals.
Simeon Posen’s exploration into natural imagery continues decades after having trained with Ansel Adams. Posen works in film and develops the negatives himself. “Film is attempting to translate the extraordinary vision that the eye has,” says Posen.
His images attract the close attention of the viewer, but are not centred on one feature or detail. “You’re photographing some collection of elements,” he says, “all the peripheral things are just as important; the edges are just as important.”
After many years of depicting architectural and natural spaces Posen still considers his work as exploring and learning. “You have to do something a long time to appreciate how difficult it is,” says Gallery Arcturus artist-in-residence Deborah Harris.
“What is extraordinary about his work,” says Harris, “is that he sees. His pieces reflect a tremendous amount of time and attention and an ongoing excitement to learn more.”
Note: Gallery Arcturus regularly exhibits shows in connection with the annual Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival – however this exhibit is not formally part of the 2012 event.
Bio for Sim Posen:
Born and raised in Toronto, Simeon Posen is a landscape and architectural photographer with works spanning over four decades. His studies in architecture and stage design contribute to the unique perspective evident in his black and white photographs – namely, illuminating the intricacies of the parts to express the structure of the whole, whether created by nature or by man.
Posen’s technique, style and composition are also influenced by such photographers as Marie Cosindas, Wynn Bullock and Brett Weston and Ansel Adams with whom he studied in California.
Receiving both federal and provincial grants, Posen has conducted extensive photographic studies of the architecture of France, Austria, Iran and Greece; as well as broadly documenting the Ontario landscape.
Today, Posen continues his exploration of photographic art through blending new and old technology, frequently exhibiting while continuing his professional career in architecture.
Posen utilizes 8x10 and mid-size negative formats to express the beauty of natural form. He prefers the subtlety of ‘black and white’, maximizing the use of digital technology interwoven with more traditional methods. He uses ‘Pyro’ for negative development, a formula favoured by Adams and Weston, and continues to print on silver fibre-based papers.
Simeon Posen brings an added dimension of brilliance to his works by carefully selecting the conditions of light and weather for the subject chosen. His exposures can require up to 30 minutes. This study and patience bring an intensity yet subtlety to his nature studies.
A 4” x 5” Japanese Wista sealed camera, T-MAX [Kodak] film, a number of German and Japanese lenses – and “everything of course is on a tripod”, says Posen.
landscape, natural, nature, photography, contemporary art, art exhibit, Simeon Posen