Book review: Randa Shaath's autobiography explores the link between soul and place    Laporte out for up to a month with hamstring injury, says Guardiola    Turmoil reshapes Malaysian politics with Mahathir role in doubt    Prayers at fire-bombed mosques as India's riot toll grows    Promising political stability, new Tunisian government takes office    Egyptian jewellery manufacturers need to more focus on product innovation to compete globally: designer Omama Atef    New virus has infected 83,000 globally, caused 2,800 deaths    Japan's Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus    Coronavirus spreads in three continents; markets brace for global recession    Live score: Egypt's Zamalek v Tunisia's Esperance (African Champions League, quarterfinals)    Ighalo dedicates first Man Utd goal to late sister    Egypt becomes Africa's third fastest internet speed – minister    Egypt reaches agreement with Eni, Naturgy over Damietta LNG plant    Sudan celebrates Nile Day under theme of ‘joint investments on the river'    Mamluks' war with Ottomans: Rise of a civilisation, fall of another    Iran reports 22 deaths from coronavirus; 141 infected    Parliament has worked on files for all former officials deferred for years: MP Salah Hassaballah    Mo Salah joins UNHCR in combating refugee illiteracy through Instant Network Schools    10th Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children to showcase diverse theatre programme    FRA approves capital hike of EGP 200m for CI Capital    Egypt's Sisi approves loan worth $14 mln to establish grain storage in Port Said    Saudi Arabia stops pilgrimages over coronavirus spread    Egypt's Suez Canal post revenues to $5.8 billion in 2018/19    Turkey cuts off water supply to Syria's Hasakah city: report    Finance Ministry rejects SMEs law article amendments    GB Auto to discontinue Hyundai representation in Iraq    447% increase in mobile Malware attacks in Egypt: Kaspersky    NBE provides EGP 1bn credit facilities to Fiber Misr    Egypt's cabinet approves purchasing preventive equipment for Covid19    Military funeral for Mubarak amid regional, international absence    Tennis legend Maria Sharapova is retiring at 32    Egypt holds military funeral for former president Mubarak – Photos    The Mubarak legacy    Hosni Mubarak (1928-2020)    Is it time for Egypt to develop local English-language media outlets?    Controlling public assembly    The sound of a glitch    Don't miss Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet concerts at the opera house    Mahathir strengthens power amid Malaysian political turmoil    First art exhibition taking place in Saudi Arabia features connection between Fellini and Picasso    Al Ahly, Zamalek play 2nd Cairo Derby in less than 96 hours    Amr Fahmy former CAF general-secretary, dies battling cancer    Cairo court acquits Mubarak's sons of stock market manipulation    Al Ahly play Zamalek for Egypt Super Cup in Abu Dhabi    Little Women on its way to become a classic    UEFA Champions League: defending champions Liverpool clash with Atletico Madrid    Egypt's Golden Age actress, Nadia Lutfi, dies at 83    Egypt's President Sisi pardons some prisoners on 25 Jan. Revolution anniversary    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





A moment of clarity with Walter Chappell
Published in Daily News Egypt on 30 - 09 - 2010

From the desert of New Mexico to the desert of Egypt, bursts of light flash through black squares on the walls of the American University in Cairo's Photographic Gallery. This month, AUC hosts the first overseas exhibition of the photography of the late American photographer Walter Chappell (1925-2000), titled “Metaflora.”
“Metaflora” is subtitled “A series of electron images of plant life realized without a camera in total darkness.” The focus of the exhibit is mundane, living vegetal objects: an avocado, parsley, a daisy blossom among others. Yet the technique of electron photography (high voltage/high frequency electron imagery) shows the life energy of these freshly cut plants shining out with star-like intensity.
These pictures are a means to capture more than just the intricate, unseen energetic structure of living flora. Chappell's development as an artist was closely linked to academic studies of other fine arts and encounters with Native American spiritual rituals at a young age.
Later on, he was influenced by the teachings of Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff. He began exploring photography in the 1950s and through capturing the beauty of the natural world Chappell sought “a growing discovery of my inner being.”
Chappell was at the vanguard of a mid-century American fine art photography movement which, following in the techniques innovated by Alfred Stieglitz, sought to establish photography as an expressive art akin to painting and poetry. Other prominent members included Minor White and Ansel Adams. Chappell believed that photographic imagery could reflect deeper, spiritual truths about the world and ourselves.
The photographer spoke of something he called “camera vision” to describe his rapport with nature: “Camera vision operates as an intelligent function between the human eyes and the totality of understanding in a moment of active awareness. No camera is needed for this experience, only the keen sensibility of the human mind.”
Chappell's images seek to present a fossil, an artifact of moments of perceiving. The objective behind the creation of a photograph is not to illustrate the power of photography. Such an approach hinders our direct experience of the world.
“The camera allows me to arrest my vision at that moment when my conscience intuitively experiences a reality most important for my awareness of life's essential presence,” Chappell once explained.
The purpose of technical mastery and keen precision in developing images was to let the camera become an extension of natural eyesight. For Chappell, the photograph is an externalization of our minds' ability to capture moments of beauty and truth in life.
The “Metaflora” series also aims to reveal the internal, unseen world of nature we are capable of perceiving, both with the mind's eye aided by spiritual reflection and with the real eye aided by image-capturing technology.
Arresting yet dynamic, the electron images show energy itself, pulsating within the apparent mediocrity of ordinary objects. Simultaneously, each dynamic photo can be felt as a moment of stillness.
“What you're seeing is the life force of the avocado. You're seeing the energy of the avocado,” said Shems Friedlander, senior lecturer at the AUC department of Journalism and Mass Communication and director of the Photographic Gallery. “Avocado” and the rest of the exhibited works are part of his private collection of Chappell's work. The photographer was a close friend and mentor to Friedlander.
“Metaflora” is his “homage to Walter, who deserves to be better known as a photographer,” he explained.
The exhibit also includes a number of traditional photographs of landscape and natural objects. These photos reveal virtuosity in technical skill typical of the Association of Heliographers which Chappell co-founded in New York as well as the American Southwest themes typical of Group f/64 with whom he worked in San Francisco. Along with his contemporaries, Chappell “used photography as a means of understanding nature and the nature of oneself,” said Friedlander.
The exhibition will be open at the Photographic Gallery on the Plaza level of Abdul Latif Jameel Hall at the AUC New Cairo campus until Nov. 4. By sharing his collection with the public, Friedlander hopes to introduce a unique form of photographic expression and help visitors to “see art as the true language of communication, that I believe is the only language that can be used to solve the problems of the world.”


Clic here to read the story from its source.