City at Night: Photographs by Bernhard Hartmann and Gary W. Vann
The October exhibit at Viewpoint Gallery will feature two photographers who create their images at night. Both reveal a silent yet menacing sense of the city as elements are carved out of the dark.
Bernhard Hartmann, a German photographer, shares his after-dark experiences in winter in the American city of Chicago, a series he calls Reluctance. His color images shimmer with light and the activity of nameless, often faceless human forms, constantly on the move in spite of the cold. It’s the city that never sleeps, set against the background of Chicago’s iconic architecture.
For Gary W. Vann, the storyline of his night photographs of the city deals with interactions of man, in various ways, upon his environment. The side streets of the city at night are full of shadows, which simplify our visual perception, while generating diversions of the mind. Thus there are simple vs. complex relationships and stark reality vs. mystery. Vann explains: “Nonetheless, the realism of these images is not directed toward social correction, but toward social awareness, with an appreciation of where we are in our well insulated lives. In truth, we live in a soup of a city, with a blend of new problems we might like to forget. The human element at night resides as a shadow, within the shadows of the city. We are often provoked by questions, rather than comforted by answers. In profound silence the city is presented like a stage set, appropriately recorded in black and white.”