by Will Conley
Last year, veteran gallery owner Howard Christopherson sent out a statewide
call for submissions for photography shot in 2003. He received 391 images to
choose from. He took his 22 favorites and handed them off to his buddies at
True Tone Imaging to be digitally enlarged as giclee prints.
True Tone did nothing to “smooth”
the resulting accentuated grains; their philosophy is that photographs are comprised
of grains by nature and should stay that way. The colors were watered down very
slightly in True Tone’s rendering, but you wouldn’t know it unless
you saw the originals. Each print was sized and framed to fit Christopherson’s
haven of photography, Icebox Gallery, ever haloed in warm blue neon light.
This masterful curation is a slick and sparkling pantheon of black-and-white
and color photographs, abstract assemblages, landscapes, portraits and staged
One of these images, the tumultuous and complex “Madcap,” was created
by Polly Norman using a never-been-done, three-fold process of photography through
glass, photogram in the darkroom, and hand coloring after the photo has been
developed. (A photogram is a silhouette produced by placing an object—a
feather, for example—onto photographic paper in the darkroom. Surrealist
Man Ray was one of its progenitors.)
More simple and direct, yet saturated with all the fear and elation of new
marriage, is wedding photographer Brian Ross Tanning’s “A Bridesmaid’s
Eye.” A perfectly mascaraed eye is wide open, the kaleidoscopic beauty
of her green iris revealed. You can even see the tiny veins of her eyeball and
the texture of her skin. Tanning has captured it: the Eye will incinerate you.
Most of the other images in the show will plunk you down on the lakeshore
of Duluth, into the swooping psychedelia of Arizona rock formations, at the
foot of a mountain in Israel, next to a beached boat in Vietnam, or even place
you in the relatively nearby suburbs of Minneapolis.
There’s nothing wrong with a photograph good enough to appear in National
Geographic. That is unless you’re unable to appreciate the fact that somebody—a
fellow Minnesotan, at that—actually went to one of those places to retrieve
it for you. Even then, you haven’t seen a travel photograph as large and
looming as the ones you’ll see at the Icebox. As my fellow Pulse writer
Dwight Hobbes says, “You pays your money and you takes your chances.”
Only in this case, it’s free.
Through May 28. Free. Tues. - Fri. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Thurs. 10 a.m. -
9 p.m.; Sat. 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. Icebox Quality Framing and Gallery, Northrup King
Building #443, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Mpls. 612-788-1790. http://www.iceboxminnesota.com.