Image Above: Jenny Montgomery, Cats on Steps, 2014. 14 x 14 inches, archival pigment print.
Photography is a timeful art. With each frame the photographer captures a single image in time as it exists in that moment and that moment alone. The idea of New York as the city that never sleeps, a commonly held conception of this city, is a notion that has stood the test of time despite the city's changing landscape. In New York there will always be a light shining from any given apartment window at 3 am. You can always order a pastrami from the corner deli. How, then, can photographers reconcile their very timeful craft with that which will always remain the same, particularly in an iconic city like New York?
Alan Chimacoff, City Slivers, 2012, 15 x 15 inches, archival pigment print.
Sleep Is Useless, the current group exhibition on view at J. Cacciola Gallery, presents images of New York City with a distinct awareness of the constant presence of time. Photographers Michael Massaia, Alan Chimacoff, and Jenny Montgomery capture New York in both a timeful and timeless fashion. Though their imagery highlights New York's unique, minute-to-minute being, the black and white format of these photographs reference traditional photographic techniques. The images have a classic New York feel, something that reads as somewhat of an oxymoron.
Michael Massaia, Fall Exit, Deep in a Dream - Central Park series, 2013. 20 x 24 inches, toned silver gelatin print.
What one sees in these photographs is a momentary timelessness: Central Park at night, the facades of high rise buildings, a family walking together along the street. New York itself is timeful; no moment is like the next. Yet it is the images of these moments that these artists capture, not the moments themselves, that posses a timelessness.
Sleep Is Useless will be on view at J. Cacciola Gallery through August 30th.
Text by Nora Landes