Thursday, October 18, 2012

IDENTITY IN-FORMATION Photographs by Reneé Billingslea

IDENTITY IN-FORMATION Photographs by Reneé Billingslea
Louis Meager Art Gallery -Ohlone College
Artist Reception: Saturday October 20th, 7-8PM
Costume Party Reception!



IDENTITY IN-FORMATION 

Photographs by

Reneé Billingslea

“Homeless Boy,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in.
Louis Meager Art Gallery -Ohlone College

IDENTITY IN-FORMATION

Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz once said, “when I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I'd like to know them.” It is evident the same sincerity serves as the backbone and style in Reneé Billingslea’s Identity In-Formation, a collection of portraits selected from two portfolios: Heroes, Heaven and Hell, a costume series shot on six consecutive Halloweens from 2004 through 2011. The photographed were kids in Billingslea’s neighborhood, as well as children she interacted with during a trip to El Salvador where she participated in community work. These images are fun and playful, but in their tenderness and uniqueness Billingslea uncovers and explores the deeper meaning behind each photograph: the identities that are not yet fully formed. Does the young man with such a powerful salute long to be a soldier and defend our country? Will we see the young boy standing so proud in his swimsuit one day in the Olympics? As the viewer, we are given clues about who the children might one day become. 

Citing Diane Arbus as one of the photographers that has influenced her philosophy towards portraiture photography, Billingslea was fascinated by Arbus’s ability to connect with everyone she photographed, and she knew she would like to do the same.
“There are no grand gestures, no pretenses, no sense of discomfort, only a simple honesty. You walk away with a sense of [Billingslea’s] genuine interest and affection for each person she photographs.” 

- Paul Mahder Owner, Paul Mahder Gallery

In Reneé’s own words:
A portrait plays an important part of our personal and social history. Its fundamental purpose is to capture the essential spirit of a person at a specific time and place, serving to enrich the historical record with the identity of the subject. The moment a photographer releases the shutter, one can be sure that time begins to make its mark on history. I am inspired by such masters as August Sanders, Henri Cartier Bresson and Richard Avedon, all of whom move beyond the traditional use of a portrait, and seek to capture something unique about the individual. Often, it is subtly discovered in their presence, a mere expression, or through the way they interact with their environment.

My photographic method is rooted in analog tradition. Each photograph is shot with a Hasselblad medium format film camera, and proofed and printed on silver gelatin paper. As an artist, my love for analog photography provides me with an opportunity to slow down, reflect upon, and treat each photograph as a unique object.
“Batman,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in. “Obama,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in.
“Einstein,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in. “Violet,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in.
“Michael Jackson,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in. “Giesha Girl,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in. “Vampire,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in. “Poodle Skirt,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in.
“Lincoln,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in. “Zombie,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in.
“Vampire Boy,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in. “Soldier,” Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 5 in. “School Uniforms,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in. “The Swimmer,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in.
“Sponge Bob,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in. “Boy with His Bull,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in.
“Baily and Her Tiger,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in. “Boys with Guns,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in. “Charlie,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in. “Children on Playground,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in.
“Noland,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in. “Little Girl,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in.
“Little Boy,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in. “Just before the Kiss,” Silver Gelatin Print, 16 x 16 in.

Louie-Meager Art Gallery  
at the Gary Soren Smith Center for the Fine and Performing Arts
Artist Reception: Saturday October 20th, 7-8PM
Ohlone College 43600 Mission Blvd. Fremont, California 94539 Main: (510) 659-6176