“Have you ever been to an opening that had this kind of din?” someone asked me.
The honest answer was, “No.” But then, this was my first art opening, let alone the first opening of material created by friends and associates. I’ve been lucky enough to have Andrzej Pilarczyk, Rudy Lu and Al Brooks make my words live on several web sites – including this one -for several years. But “Impasse & Motion: Ten Photographers’ Journeys through Instants in Music” was my first knowing exposure to the work of Lawrence White (a longtime contributor to Rolling Stone) and Joe Putrock (a colleague of curator Pilarczyk’s from The Source and Metroland). And although I know Don McKever and Eric Jenks from the local music scene, Saturday’s opening reception for the exhibition at the Saratoga Arts Center Gallery was the first time I’d ever seen their stuff. Together, it was ten photographers with ten completely different backgrounds, educations, and approaches, but they’re inexorably linked by (in Pilarczyk’s words) “their love of music.”
Now, here’s the thing: Anyone can take a picture of a musician playing, as the idiot at the last show you attended demonstrated by continually blocking your view with his outstretched iPhone. But it takes skill, timing, and not a little luck to catch that musician’s essence in concert. And to catch that self-same musician in that fleeting “Oh, FUCK YEAH” moment when he or she plays something so beautiful and so unexpected? That’s catching lightning in a bottle while you’re handcuffed and blindfolded. You can’t predict it, you can’t expect it, and by the time you realize what it is, it’s usually gone. As White said during his remarks, “These images can be quite temporary.”