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MENDING FENCES: REALITY VS. ILLUSION IN CHESTER

Fence 001, 2016, framed, archival pigment prints on fine art paper, 23” x 33”.

Fence 001, 2016, framed, archival pigment prints on fine art paper, 23” x 33”.


ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
FENCES: A PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT BY MICHAEL PRESSMAN
THE MAIN STREET GALLERY OF THE CONGREGATION BETH SHALOM RODFE ZEDEK
55 EAST KINGS HIGHWAY, CHESTER,CT
THROUGH OCTOBER 16

by Tom Soboleski

Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world. So said American photographer Arnold Newman. Illusory is one way to describe the images in “Fences,” an exhibit of new photography by Michael Pressman in Chester, Connecticut. Composed mostly of composite photos that blend fences with out-of-place natural elements, they might be the trompe-l’oeil of photography — are the scenes real or an illusion? They certainly fool the eye.

On display at the Main Street Gallery of the Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek synagogue through October 16, many superlatives could aptly apply to the photos — bold, striking, dramatic. Perhaps most of all, they are captivating — in their subject matter, in their method, in their presentation, in their contrasts.

Software has elevated the artistry of photography to a whole new realm. Overlaying images allows for limitless creativity. Purists who believe the “as shot” image shouldn’t be manipulated beyond some dodging and burning might cringe at the notion. But it’s not simply pasting one image over another. One needs to know how much blending and dodging is just enough. Can you adjust edges and shadows to create seamlessness? As Pressman pointed out, the raw shot is still there and “I’m not putting anything in that isn’t in the shot.” His imagination conceives images rooted in his feelings and emotions. “I see many sides of many things,” he said. “It can be very much rooted in seeing, feeling and reacting.”

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