Thursday, October 30, 2014

Robert Burley's George Eastman House Exhibition Reviewed

"Canadian photographer Robert Burley's 'The Disappearance of Darkness' feels like a proper elegy to an era, with eerie shots of stark and dated, abandoned manufacturing interiors, ghost offices, and modern ruins of warehouses and factories. Since the mid-2000's, Burley has documented the slow death of film manufacturing, capturing what remains and what is doomed: yawning cave-like spaces, manufacturing minutiae, and the implosions of iconic structures which provided the livelihoods for generations of Rochesterians and Kodak, Agfa, and Ilford employees in other countries.

But subtle, related images are included, too. The 2005 image 'Art Photo Studio: Closed Due to Retirement, Toronto, Ontario,' marks the near obsolescence of certain traditional photographic industries at the commercial digital camera boom. A portrait of Rochester photographer Nathan Lyons' darkroom hints that the disappearance of darkness is not complete. An iPhone under glass scrolls through the 19 images captured by someone attending a 2009 rave at the single remaining building of a Kodak factory before the police stopped the party. The dim images, which give a vague sense of the 500 people who lit the darkened space with flashlights and digital cameras, were posted to Facebook." - Rebecca Rafferty for Rochester City Newspaper

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