Friday, November 21, 2014

ALMOST HEAVEN: A photographer uses 19th-century techniques to create dreamy visions

By: Michael Abatemarco
Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014 
Pasatiempo, Santa Fe New Mexican

Utopia calls to mind a peaceful, harmonious, and just society where there is no poverty or war and citizens enjoy a fair portion of prosperity and happiness. It is a society where there is no want, an idyllic state not unlike heaven but similarly difficult, perhaps even impossible, to reach. The photographs of Jennifer Schlesinger Hanson, on view in Figments of Reality: An Exhibition of Contemporary Landscape Images at Verve Gallery of Photography, underscore the notion of the idealized world as unattainable, ephemeral as a dream. Her Utopia series is an uncanny body of work in black and white, made using the 19th-century albumen-print process. “It has yet to be determined whether or not the series is complete but there are 10 images here,” Schlesinger Hanson, who is represented by Verve and also serves as the gallery’s director, told Pasatiempo. “They’re kind of exploring the idea of whether or not a perfect society can exist. I wanted to tweak them a little bit so that there would be something just a little off. I tried to make them these ideal, perfect landscapes — but with just a little slight something that makes them imperfect. That’s the idea behind the series.”


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