"Digital Darkroom" Exhibit Features Imaginative Imagery

Annenberg Space for Photography exhibit showcases photographs created through a variety of manipulation techniques

Earthly physics and reality do not govern the worlds captured by many of the photographers whose work will be on display at the “Digital Darkroom” Exhibit at The Annenberg Space for Photography.

The exhibit, which opens Saturday, features the diverse work of 17 artists who take photography deep into the realm of imagination through digital and darkroom manipulation.

Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube said the exhibit departs from past exhibits by focusing on what photographers do with their images after the point of exposure. “Digital Darkroom” includes 80 print images and hundreds of additional images on digital screens in what Aube described as the most technical display space in the nation.  

Agoura-based Brooke Shaden’s said her images are inspired by dark fairytales and pre-Raphaelite painters.

“Everything is based on reality, but turned upside down, and more whimsical and dreamlike,” she said.

When creating an image, she dedicates a lot of time toward conceptualizing.

“I spend a very long time thinking of every little detail that will go into that picture, from the pose to the colors to the way a hair will be moving,” she said. From there, she moves to a short five to ten minute shoot. Then she takes the five or so images she shot and begins editing. This usually takes her about two to seven hours.

Christopher Schneberger’s 3-D images often involve supernatural elements. His portion of the exhibit includes pictures from his series, “The Strange Case of Dr. Addison and the Crosswell Twins,” which tells the story of how Regina Crosswell’s deceased twin sister’s ghost appeared in images photographed by Dr. Addison. 

“The work that I do involves a lot of narrative, and I want to involve the viewer into that narrative,” he said. “3-D allows me an extra dimension – literally – to immerse the viewer in the story that I’m creating.”

Claudia Kunin, who lives in Silverlake, also embraces the supernatural into her 3D images, but where Shneberger’s black and white pictures feel antique, Kunin’s color saturated images are unmistakably modern. She is currently exploring 3D animation.

This technique helps her illustrate the intangible: ghosts, memories and dreams.

“With this technology, I can help you to see those ghosts and make them more tangible, but I hope the magic doesn’t get taken out of it,” she said.

One of her photos, “The Tower of Babble,” has a ghost in the window that Kunin said appeared in the image on its own.

Mike Pucher’s 3-D images are decidedly more tangible still lifes of succulents and flowers. His black and white images pop out at the viewer, revealing their complexity. He enjoys looking at and showing his photographs because they show plants in ways people aren’t used to seeing.

“It’s a little bit like looking through a microscope, but instead of looking through the tiny little eye piece, you get to see it right here in front of you. Also you can see dimension,” Pucher said.

He has been working with 3-D since 2009 and said it initially took him a while to find subjects that are suited to the medium.

“I actually have to pick flowers that have depth,” he said. He selects his subjects by looking at them from the side instead of head-on to make sure they are deep enough to take advantage of the medium.

Senior Creative Director at Adobe Systems, Russell Brown acted as Exhibit Curatorial advisor. The exhibit will be on display until May 28, 2012, and admission is free of charge.


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