ArtBeat: Joe Putrock


Damn the cell phone! Full speed ahead!

That might be the battlecry of Joe Putrock, Albany photographer and drummer for the band with the best name in Nippertown – the Charlie Watts Riots.

The cell phone – or perhaps more accurately the cell phone camera – drove Polaroid out of the instant-film business last year, but apparently the instant-photography business isn’t quite dead yet, and Putrock seems determined to breath new life into it as a means of artistic expression.

Joe Putrock: White Ribbon/Red Balloon
Joe Putrock: White Ribbon/Red Balloon

On Saturday, May 2, Putrock bought a Fuji instant-film camera, and on Friday, June 5, he opened his one-person exhibition, “Sketches & Drawings: New Photographs by Joe Putrock,” at the Lark Street BID, where it will remain on view through Tuesday, June 30.

All of the 28 color photographs were taken with his new camera, which means that he was cranking out images at the rate of nearly a photo-a-day for the past month. And because the photographs are of an intimate 2 1/2″ x 4″ size, it also means that the image of “White Ribbon/Red Balloon” that adorns the promotional postcard for the exhibit is actually larger than the artwork itself.

Joe Putrock: Four Chairs
Joe Putrock: Four Chairs

While he’s a regular contributing photographer to Metroland and the social pages of the Times Union, Putrock gets a chance here to leave documentary portraiture behind. With this show he steps into his own world, and his subjects are most often mundane, everyday objects – shopping carts, plastic chairs, a tire.

Yet he makes us look at – and really consider – the ordinary with fresh eyes and a new perspective. And really, that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

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