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Scott Campbell, Chuck Davis, Art Haseltine, Camille Lenore, Robin V. Robinson, Ryuijie
Curator: William Giles

This exhibition demonstrates that in the world of underwater photography an artistic approach to the light, landscape and life of the ocean has begun to supplant the traditional descriptive approach. Strikingly, the work is entirely done in black and white. For a complex web of reasons, Monterey and its environs have become probably the most vital and concentrated place in the world for this new work, and its leading regional proponents are represented in this exhibition.

Photography has a time-honored descriptive role, both underwater and everywhere else:  the photographer visits the foreign place–and no place is more foreign than the ocean–and brings back a rich visual record of what was seen. Descriptive photographs can be accurate and faithful, and stunningly beautiful. But seldom are they metaphorical, allusive, meditative, ambiguous or evocative. Seldom are they spiritual. Never are they sacred.

The photographers in this exhibition, on the other hand, have visited a foreign place and come back with a record derived from what was felt, imagined, experienced, believed, recognized, or intuitively known. They have brought back a kind of photograph that is less accurately descriptive–after all they are in black-and-white–but which encourages a contemplative state for the viewer where recognition and even metaphorical participation in the artist’s perception is at least possible. Which is to say they do the work that all art tries to do. To paraphrase the language of sacraments, these photographs are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual relationships.

It is perhaps an oversimplification to say that the descriptive photographs are photographs of nature while the artistic photographs are photographs of the experience and perception of the artist, but perhaps it is not.

– David Bayles

About the Curator(s)


Thumbnail for Deeper: Explorations in Ocean Light class=

Deeper: Explorations in Ocean Light

This soft-cover catalog includes 25 images from the October 27, 2012 – January 5, 2013 exhibition. Designed for CPA by Takigawa Design, the book also includes statements from the artists, curator William Giles, and co-producer David Bayles. The catalog may be purchased at the CPA Gallery for $20.00, and may also be previewed and purchased online from our publisher: MagCloud.

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