Exhibit explores classic photography

Junior photography major Chris Rogers explains his photographic process to Professor of Art History Jon Leaver in the Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall on Feb 22. Rogers' "Elemental Opposites" exhibit is on display until March 18, where he showcases black and white images taken with a pinhole camera. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez
Junior photography major Chris Rogers explains his photographic process to Professor of Art History Jon Leaver in the Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall on Feb 22. Rogers’ “Elemental Opposites” exhibit is on display until March 18, where he showcases black and white images taken with a pinhole camera. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez

Stephen Gilson Jr.
Calendar Editor 

The Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall is currently showcasing the exhibit “Elemental Opposites,” featuring simple-yet-engaging black-and-white photos taken in various settings.

The photos, taken at Yosemite National Park and the surrounding area, are by junior photography major Christopher Rogers, who used an old-fashioned wooden pinhole camera for all the photos in the show. 

He also made another pinhole camera, which he fashioned from a scuba tank and other materials, but that camera was not used for this exhibit. 

“Color is a modern technological advancement of photography,” Rogers said. “Photos were originally taken in black and white, so I wanted to stick with the basics of photography, (hence) a pinhole camera.”

One photo in the show features bundles of wood smoldering with flames – in the middle of the woods; a tree stands alone in the middle of the flames, and finds itself shrouded in a hazy cloud of smoke. Another photo shows a small waterfall surrounded by trees and rocks. 

Although the pinhole camera is low-tech, this camera is able to create a visually satisfying effect of smoothing out the motion of the water, evoking a silky-smooth aesthetic.

“It was a lot of trial and error, but I built the pinhole camera with a scuba tank and some photo paper,” Rogers said. “I fell in love with the look of it; it is super-soft focused. 

“The exposures ranged widely, the shortest being two seconds. But the longest exposure time for a photograph for this exhibit was about 12 minutes,” Rogers added.

He also explained the processing effort involved.

Junior educational studies major Alyssa Civille immerses herself in an image with the artist’s statement in hand at Chris Rogers’ “Elementals Opposites” exhibit in the Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall on Feb 22. Rogers’ exhibit showcases pinhole photos of Yosemite as a return to analog in a time where modern technology is advancing like never before. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez

“These types of photos have to be developed in a darkroom,” Rogers said. “There were some days where I would spend almost five hours in a pitch-dark room just developing the prints.” 

The focus on both water and fire create the combination that inspires the name of the exhibit, “Elemental Opposites.”

The relationship between the two elements is designed to cause viewers to reflect on what they find important. 

“It also makes me think about the deforestation happening in the world and how nature is dying out because of human civilization,” said Liberty Garcia, sophomore photography major. 

Other viewers shared their impressions.  

“I see a very serene environment when I look at the water in the pictures,” said Audrie Pagano, sophomore sociology major. “Although water can move in different ways and can be extremely powerful, I find these pictures to be very peaceful and calming.”

Rogers had help putting the show together.  

“All of this starts quite simply with an idea,” Fred Brashear Jr., adjunct professor of photography. “At the end, what we hope to do is to display all of the prime shots that the photographer has created in their body of work.” 

Rogers is looking forward to more ambitious projects in the future. 

“I would like to see my work end up in a professional gallery some day,” Rogers said. 

The “Elemental Opposites” exhibit will run in the Ground Floor Gallery through March 18.

Stephen Gilson Jr. can be contacted at stephen.gilson@laverne.edu 

Sophomore photography major Liberty Garcia observes junior photography major Christopher Rogers’ exhibition “Elemental Opposites” at the Ground Floor Gallery in Miller Hall on Feb. 22. The exhibition showcased black and white photography that focused on the fundamental elements of the photographic art form to oppose the ever-evolving technology in photography. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez

Stephen Gilson Jr. is a sophomore journalism major with a concentration in broadcast journalism. He played baseball and football in high school and is an avid sports enthusiast.

Christopher Rodriguez is a senior photography major and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine.

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