John Reiff Williams’ work from three signature photographic series – the La Jolla Beach Project, The Edge of Collapse Series from Mexico City and the Hollywood Boulevard Series – will be printed and on display at Thomas Paul Fine Art in Los Angeles in February.
An exact date and time for the exhibit has not yet been announced, but you can find updates on it at tpaulfineart.com as the time for the exhibit comes closer. Williams has already started printing the exhibition on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308g from LexJet on his Epson 3800 inkjet printer, also procured through LexJet. “Almost everything I have – my monitor, color management devices, printer and paper – is from LexJet,” he says.
The images will be printed at 13″ x 19″, though the image size will be a bit smaller since Williams sticks to the one-inch archival rule of leaving at least an inch of margin on two sides, or all four sides, depending on the image.
Printing his work helps bring its full effect to life, as printing provides added depth, color and emotion that can get lost in the pixels of a monitor. “There’s so much subtlety that disappears when you display them on the Web; you’re not getting all the juice,” he says.
The dynamic visuals Williams created in the three series that will be featured at the Thomas Paul exhibition require the “juice” of pigments. They look fantastic and require a second look (at least) even when displayed on-screen, as they are here, but the exhibition will show the true depth of the compositions.
The style of the featured work is difficult to describe in a single word or phrase. They allude to movement and interaction that reach beyond time, place and circumstance. Perhaps the best technical term would be multiple exposure, which is certainly true of the earlier series while he was a graduate student, the La Jolla Beach Project, that Williams created in-camera with multiple exposures on film.
The Edge of Collapse and the Hollywood Boulevard Series are his most recent “multiple-exposure” works, with the multiplying done in Photoshop. The concept, however, remains largely the same: the interplay of movement between the photographer and his subjects.
“I’m using several images taken during the course of a day. Then, I see how they work together as layers. I don’t work in a formulaic way in Photoshop to do that; I just go from feel,” Williams explains. “I started off doing window reflections where I was looking for natural elements that would obfuscate, distort and transform images to bring out the otherness of the objects I was photographing. I’ve gotten more toward the idea that everything is a reflection anyway; that’s the nature of photography. I don’t need windows because everything is a window. If I accept that as an idea, I can start to play with that and layer images that happen either sequentially or randomly.”
The body of work Williams will display at the exhibition breaks the barriers between photography, fine art and perception. The concept is bigger than the medium used.
“There are over 50,000 photos uploaded to Flickr every hour, and when you consider the volume being generated, it’s becoming difficult to find that new animal under a rock that hasn’t been photographed before. So I’ve turned more to the imagination in my photography and the relationships that develop over time at a certain place,” says Williams. “Then the camera becomes a recorder of something you’ve already set into orbit.”
For a preview of what will be displayed at the exhibit at Thomas Paul Fine Art, as well as an entertaining and illuminating explanation of his work, click here. We’ll follow up with photos and a re-cap from the exhibit after it opens.