Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Barry Frydlender, Travelogue in Pictures @Meislin
Comments/Context: With the proliferation of powerful digital tools, it seems like the composite panorama has become a photographic subgenre all its own. Starting with fragments from hundreds of individual images, a photographer then stitches these pieces into a single large tableaux, often with multiple stories occurring simultaneously. The result is a hyper-real instant, where detail is crisp from edge to edge, and where the documentary reality is subtly transformed into an interpretive scene.
What I found most interesting (and in some cases perplexing) in many of Frydlender's images is that he has quietly inserted a sense of upending time warp, where individual subjects can often be seen more than once in the large span of the image. This doppelganger effect is easy to miss if you don't look closely, but once you see it, it transforms the scenes from quasi-documentary stills into something altogether more original and radical. Time has been collapsed, and the single image now represents a more cinematic place, where individuals seem to traverse the surface of the image as they jump from one instance of themselves to the next. This technique unfreezes the fabricated moment and instead creates fluid motion, where past and present are interlinked.
For me, this idea of time-based seriality inside the framework of a single static image is quite exciting, as it updates the concept of the multiple exposure for the digital age; it also changes the nature of the traditional photographic narrative. This seems like fertile ground for unexpected ways of thinking, and I hope Frydlender will take this straightforward thought and expand it in new and challenging directions.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
Barry Frydlender, Travelogue in Pictures
Through June 18th
Andrea Meislin Gallery
526 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001