Constructed Scenery – Three very different photographers find striking similarity in their visions

Constructed Scenery – Three very different photographers find striking similarity in their visions

Opens April 6 5-9 PM, Studio 229, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston
Join Tendency to Wander at an opening reception. RSVP and see more details here.

Contact Mark Peterson - - 617 458-9700

A year or so ago these three photographers began to notice one another’s pictures on Instagram. In the midst of the millions of random insta images they were drawn together by the style and subject matter that they seemed to share and by the sympathetic emotional tenor of their work.

Their resulting group show, Constructed Scenery, opening April 6, uses large prints in bold colors to capture an improbable elegance in often overlooked places. The images created by Mark Peterson, Lisa Guerriero, and Justin Hamel fit together pieces of infrastructure, advertisements, and neglected or under-designed buildings to create formal compositions which make these unlikely elements into a new and revealing whole.

Some people look to a natural landscape and see their photographic subject. Peterson, Guerriero, and Hamel survey the built environment to craft their compositions. In avoiding the more obvious city scenes and veering somewhat away from the documentary, they tend to find places on the edges—the neighborhoods left behind, the results of questionable design decisions, the not-so-desirable locales. Because of their affinity for bringing out hidden value, these settings are presented empathetically, proclaiming the aesthetic value that is underappreciated.

The three all relish strong colors drawn from improbable sources in the built environment and positioned against one another in the manner of montage. Stark lines are formed with the use of unexpected shadows and incidental elements: wires, signposts, street edges. This leads to both a strong melancholy feel and often also to an abundance of irony. Peterson likes to say that if the site is sufficiently banal and the composition sufficiently elegant, then the photograph may be very ironic.

One of Hamel’s favorite strategies is to find a famous tourist view and turn his back on it, pointing his camera instead at the splay of tourists and the background structures that support them. Peterson photographs within hours of sunrise to make the most of vivid shadows and to maximize the pale yellow light, which he feels intensifies the color. Guerriero often interviews the characters at the center of her scenes. She seamlessly blends captivating environments with portraits to amplify the connection between the story and subject.

Peterson has been printing his own for several years now. Inkjet printing fulfills, he says, a dream from his 20s and 30s when gave up on his black and white darkroom in search of some way to print the large, vividly colored images that he saw. Having found such resonance in Guerriero and Hamel’s work, despite being from dramatically different schools of photography and in various stages in their lives and careers, he recruited them to assemble a group show for which he would produce the prints.

In this age of screens, the end product of a printed photograph has drastically declined in popularity. Up against this trend, and in spite of the fact that their meeting was through shared Instagram work, they have decided to demonstrate the impact of their images on the wall instead of the screen.

The results will be up from April 6 to June 1 at Studio 229, 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston’s SoWa Arts District.

Studio 229 will be open for SoWa First Fridays and SoWa Sundays in May. Full dates and times:

Friday, April 6, 5 – 9 pm
Friday, May 4, 5-9 pm
Sundays in May 11-4 pm
Friday, June 1, 5-9 pm

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