In Person

Periodically in Photo Happenings I post a conversation
with a personality in the photography world in Portland.

A conversation with Gary Wilson

A few months ago, I went to an opening that was held at the Paramount Hotel, long-time friend and dealer Tessa Pappas was just finishing the installation of artwork for the hotel.

She had chosen the work of Gary Wilson to build on theme of the bridges of Portland for the public and private spaces . Gary and I also go way back in the photography world, and his installation of over 600 photographs intrigued me, so we met to go through them floor by floor.

 

Wilson's photographs will be featured in a three-part exhibition at Camerwork in Portland beginning June 15.

This first in a series of 3 contiguous exhibitions features evocative portrayals in all types of weather and light.

The following shows will present radically different approaches to this subject, running from Jul 20-Aug 16 and Aug 17-Sep 20,

 

Gary as been an architectural photographer for over over 20 years in Portland.  While attending Portland State University, working toward his degree in painting and drawing in the 1970's, he worked at the Fountain Gallery. "it was invalualbe experience, working with artists, installation and delivery."   He went on with his post-graduate work at the Museum Art School, which opened in 1909 and is now the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

"I've slways self-employed" he said, and caught the heyday when multi-projecting was a mainstay of the corporate world.   "I did promotions, in house orientation and interoffice communication with multilpe projector slide shows".  Being "on time and communicating" were paramount in that work, but eventually that market changed when video became the prevalant mode of corporate communication.

Gary was always interested in artictecture, and began doing interiors for realtors—still photography was the main marketing tool in that real estate industry. The internet, or course, then changed all that.

 

 

His name was referred to Michael Beard and the Willamette Light Brigade when they were looking for a photograher for that organization.  It was one of those turning points, as assignment work can sometimes be.

When Tessa Pappas began work on a thematic approach to decorating the Paramount Hotel, Gary got the job.   Straight photograpy in color and black and white was used in all the guest rooms, and each floor uses a photograph etched on a large mirrior with text.  Each Floor features a different bridge.

The public space photographs in the hallway needed a differnt approach. Most of these images deal with the innerworkings of each bridge, envisioned from both an industrial look and almost-aerial view of the city.

"I chose photograph the interior workings of the bridges using High-Dynamic-Range Imaging.   My primary reason for using HDR was to better represent the range of light values when showing both the interior and exterior views of the bridge structures.

"The vibrant Fauvist range of colors was more of a personal musing regarding the traditional vs. contemporary styles of any art form along with its immediate acceptance or rejection.    I do feel that HDR photography has been challenged for some of the same reasons that Fauvism was in its infancy. Both, it should be said, were or are responsible for a vibrant infusion of vision and energy into their respective art forms."


"I had to use 2 or 3 formats"  Gary said.  Taking advantage of bridge lifts and preplanning for shooting within the bridge structure "involved scheduling with up to three agencies, including Homeland Security."

 

Gary's early training at the Museum Art School was important in building the concept of the installation. "The schools of painting have led to an investigation by photographers into today's post modernist world."

Wilson's photographs will be featured in a three-part exhibition at Camerwork in Portland beginning June 15. The first in a series of 3 contiguous exhibitions features evocative portrayals in all types of weather and light.   Following shows will present radically different approaches to this subject, running from Jul 20-Aug 16 and Aug 17-Sep 20.

For more information:

www.GaryWilsonPhoto.com

http://www.thecameraworkgallery.org/about.html