It’s not until you get behind a camera that you realize just how much thought it takes to create a stunning photograph. At least that’s the lesson I’m taking away from my film photography class. Now when I step into the gallery space, I appreciate more a photograph that can not only aesthetically blow me away but emotionally or spiritually move me.
That happened when I walked into Ken Gonzales-Day’s show at Luis de Jesus Gallery on Saturday night (where lo and behold, I actually ran into my photography professor!). “Profiles, Hang Trees, Portraits” combines the photographer’s works from various series. Though the subject matter might not seem to relate right away, all the photographs showcase his ability to look critically at our culture and our past through photography. His portraits especially impressed me because they managed to capture personalities in a relatively simple way. The photo’s large size made it seem as if the person depicted really stared right back at us.
The “Hang Trees” series proved especially powerful; the images suck you in purely aesthetically and when you know the background – Gonzales-Day photographed areas of actual lynchings – the photos prove even more haunting. To me, in the right hands, photography becomes about more than aesthetically pleasing photos – it becomes a way to probe into humanity, history and everything in between.Ken Gonzales-Day, “Profile, Hang Trees, Portraits”
October 27 – December 8
Luis de Jesus Gallery
2685 S La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM and by appointment