George Krause: San Miguel Exposed @ Cinnabar Gallery (NSFW)

DSC_1310

Hmmm…what’s going on in there? Looks pretty lively…

September is an overwhelming month for art openings in San Antonio. Not only is it the start of Fotoseptiembre, but it’s also time for all of the major museums and galleries to host their Fall seasonal opening events. As a result, a show must really stand out in order to get one’s attention. So…after attending the Texas Bienniale opening at Blue Star earlier this month (which featured a broad range of art and artists, but really didn’t grab our attention), we sauntered down the alley into the bowels of the complex to seek out the the new kid on the block: Cinnabar. We didn’t know exactly what to expect…so were we impressed by their grand opening event? You bet!

(You are are officially warned at this point: What is beyond the link is NSFW.)

DSC_1395

Inside, we discovered life-size photographic prints of nude figures hanging from the ceiling. They are simply stunning in more than way: they have a unique translucent quality that gives them a certain ethereal quality, and they’re real people, not models…

DSC_1314

…and that’s what sets them apart from anything I’ve ever seen before. This photography is the latest work of the illustrious George Krause: San Miguel Exposed.

Krause’s resume is exceptional: Born in Philadelphia in 1937, he attended the Philadelphia College of Art. He then went on to score honors as the the first photograher to be granted not only the Prix de Rome, but also the first Fulbright/Hays grant. In addition, he was awarded two Guggenheim fellowships and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

DSC_1336

A great photographer knows how to get the best out of his subjects

Major museums have collected Krause’s work, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. He was also Texas Artist of the Year in 1993. More recently, he made his home in Wimberley after retiring from the University of Houston, where he created their photography program.

The photos just speak for themselves. So how does he do it? It’s actually a simple, yet brilliant technique:

DSC_1359

He places his subjects into what is basically an oversized lightbox (for those of you who don’t remember sorting slides on a lightbox, it’s essentially a translucent plastic panel with flourescent lights behind it). This work is an extension of his Sfumato project, where he used a smaller version of this lightbox to take several series of portraits.

Karlos with a "K". Photo by George Krause.

Karlos with a “K”. Photo by George Krause.

In this case, he crafted a lightbox with reflective side panels in order to provide enough illumination for full-body images, which he brought to the Cinnabar opening. However, instead of doing nudes, Krause chose to do his more traditional Sfumato portraits instead. And yes, if you’re wondering, Karlos is always ready to pose for the camera. The trick is to catch him in his normal posture.

DSC_1354

Karlos and George Krause

So what other elements made these photos so special? Aside from the aforementioned items, the way he utilizes lighting makes all the difference. The lightbox provides a strong backlighting effect, and he balances it with just enough front lighting.

DSC_1318

So there you have it: natural-looking subjects, great lighting, and full-size images. Sounds simple, right? Don’t be fooled. Like a movie or television director, a great photographer must have the charisma needed to bring out the best in his or her subjects. Otherwise, the models end up looking dull and lifeless, no matter what technical prowess the photographer brings to bear. George Krause has all of these qualities.

DSC_1325

To view more images from the opening at Cinnabar, click here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s