Book Review: Edges of Time
By Belle McIntyre
This book’s title Edges of Time is part of a longer phrase by the great mystical Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. The whole phrase “Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time” is an apt description for this collection of photographs by Felicia Murray. Her beautiful black and white prints make a great case for film and the techniques which she uses so effectively to veil her subjects in mystery as if to protect their privacy. Many of the images feel almost stealthy as they are shot through curtains, windows or using reflections, which eliminates the sense of the photographer’s presence.
Many are quiet, thoughtful observations, nearly all with people, who she regards with a clear embrace of their humanity and their uniqueness, whether weathered older folks or younger hedonistic party people dancing, smoking and drinking. They are all treated equally. Her love and appreciation for animals is clear and amusingly shown in the series of dog show pictures. Some of her street shots remind me of Elliot Erwitt grab shots, while others suggest Ruth Orkin.
The unique quality of her work has to do with her deftness with shooting techniques, which she uses to capture the ephemeral and fleeting seconds between the more tangible moments. By using long shutters speeds and strategic flash deployment, she creates evocative blurs and clouds, and what sometimes feels like pentimento images. All of this renders the images more non-specific and opens them up to wider interpretation, inviting speculation and stirring the imagination of the viewer.
There is a beautiful introduction by Larry Fink, who has known Felicia for years and curated the collection, which must have been a monumental task as she is a prolific shooter. It is effectively laid out and is a delight to visit over and over. It always rewards with something new to notice. It is surely a fascinating window onto the world through the mind and eyes of Felicia Murray. Her view is surely a kinder and gentler one.