|© 2012 Dean Davis|
If you made it down to First Friday (on December 7th), you may have wandered into Barrister Winery and seen the photography of Dean Davis lining the walls--and the subject is an interesting one: light bulbs. Each is a different kind of bulb, with varying glass shapes, wiring, screw caps, etc. Half are large gallery wrapped canvas pieces, and half are (slightly smaller) encaustic over photography, meaning that there is a layer of hot beeswax applied as a finish. The larger-than-life representations of the bulbs highlight their intricacy, as all the tiny details are made easily visible. Each light bulb appears to float above a surface, evidenced by a shadow slightly below the bulb, and each one seems to emit its own light. The apparent weightlessness of the bulbs may perhaps be suggestive of the true subject matter that Davis is portraying: the light itself. The bulbs, while aesthetically pleasing, are merely a housing for the light--almost being held up by the light--as it radiates everywhere.
The most intriguing thing about Davis' photographs is that each of them depicts the very source of his medium. The word "photography" originates from the Greek words photos, meaning light, and graphos, meaning writing; literally, a photographer is "writing with light" (although many prefer saying that they "paint with light"). For each photograph, at least the ones in which natural light is not sufficient, the photographer uses some artificial light source (light bulbs!) to illuminate his or her subject, and then captures the resulting image. In a way, Davis' light bulb series is a sort of internal view of photography. It is flipping the lens around on itself, staring back into the core of photography.
Personally, as I reflect on this series, I find that it encourages a parallel introspection of my own light source. Each of us shines, internally. Each of us has a glow that radiates outward, illuminating our passions and our pleasures; our strengths and our weaknesses; our likenesses and our differences among our peers. Taking a moment now and then to gaze inward and remember what our own light source(s) are is a healthy, and arguably necessary, thing to do. It is a personal reminder of self, what makes you the very beautiful you that you are.
Dean Davis, along with his personal projects, has also done professional commercial photography since 1997. Learn more about him online at www.deandavis.com.
Barrister Winery is located at 1213 West Railroad Ave. in downtown Spokane, WA, right in the midst of the historic Davenport Arts District. Visit them online at www.barristerwinery.com.