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Riding With Mary

November 11, 2008

So this last weekend I went to a very cool photography exhibit called “Riding with Mary” by Chris Haston. It was held at my friend’s hair salon (which was interesting). It was a quint little affair, and small enough where I got to have a nice long conversation with the artist. I’m currently going through a phase where I want to start to get into photography more, so it was great for me to speak to another artist about his craft. 

The exhibit is based upon “portraits” of a statue of the Virgin Mary that Chris found in a recycling bin outside of his house one day. Coming off a nasty divorce he had a build-up of creative energy that he needed to release, and through this statue he found it. He has since carried the statue around and photographed it with various backgrounds. The result is incredible. While her face is stoic and unchanging, juxtaposed with various backgrounds and lighting Chris brings her to life, and adds new meaning to each curve and crinkle of her face. 
Speaking with him he let me know that the photographs are actually “light paintings”. Meaning that it’s a photograph with a long exposure, and the artist uses different flashlights to “paint” in light. You may have seen this technique used in Sprint commercials. But Chris uses it in a very different manner. Instead of creating fluorescent-like figures he uses the small but powerful Surefire flashlight to throw light onto Mary or the background for the duration of the photo. He uses no other digital enhancement afterwards. The result is a subtle lighting that looks like it was done with a full light kit, and is remarkable. A superb exhibit, and one I highly recommend checking out if you get the chance. 
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