“Photography means writing with light,” Andrew Sims reminds me as we stand in the WAG talking about his work: nine images shot at night while he was a passenger in a taxi hurtling down the 401. The long-exposure photographs, defined by their erratic electric lines, do indeed convey a message, one of urgency. The trip Andrew was making involved a time crunch, and only when he arrived at the endpoint, could he produce an image expressing calm. In Destination we recognize a parked cab, its interior an eerie green, its passenger door open, in an urban setting, but atmospherically still a part of the race.
“Taking photos is self-therapy,” says Andrew, who has exhibited in numerous local juried shows and three solo shows. When making images he looks for emotional impact. Travelling Light, the largest photograph in the show, and the title piece, derives its impact from intense blue and red markings that provide a hazy background for crisp white and grey lines traversing the image, some boldly jagged, some smooth as wavelengths, others converging into a calligraphic scribble.
“Look how this red line appears as a dotted line,” marvels Andrew. He himself could never have predicted the outcome of his photography on that night. Through his lens (and aided by the speed of the vehicle in which he found himself) we see cars, trucks and lights distorted beyond recognition. In addition, because Andrew had set his camera to HDR (high-density range), each photograph is actually an amalgam of three photographs taken in very quick succession, duplicating and overlapping with the movement of the taxi, and themselves creating the effect of movement. What amazes in these abstract images is that a drive along what is the monotony of the 401 can produce such variety and excitement.
Travelling “light” could also be interpreted to mean, metaphorically, “without earthly constraints.” Ascension in Pairs does indeed show a great textured swath swirling upwards. Likewise, the erratic lines in all of the images convey a lightness of movement, to the extent that Andrew has named one of the images Dancing Lights. Only one photograph—Dimensional—succeeds, for the most part, in containing its energy in a tightly textured cube-like shape floating on the picture plane.
Sharing the gallery walls with Andrew are three images by his friend Alan Clark. Both artists express a passion for creative photography, and both do a minimum of post-production, thereby letting the photographs speak for themselves.
Alan captured his images of orbs in motion during a photo session organized by the Kingston Photographic Club. He has been a member of the club for 11 years but has been taking pictures since the age of 6, when his mother gave him a point-and-shoot camera because she realized that he just wasn’t noticing things. Now Alan is ever observant, conscious of the visual richness he is being offered daily.
For Andrew, meanwhile, the camera can be considered an extension of his body—ever at the ready.
Travelling Light goes from March 4-29.