Photographer Paul Caponigro is known for his images of objects in nature, which he presents in alluring black and white close-ups that reveal patterns and abstractions. Doll with peacock feathers, Boston, MA (1962) presents a fascinating contrast between a man-made object and natural forms.
The image is one of three photographs of dolls included in the exhibit Paul Caponigro: Polaroids 1960-1969, on view at Obscura Gallery (1405 Paseo de Peralta, 505-577-6708, obscuragallery.net) through January 15.
Almost subsumed by the distinctive feathers, the doll looks almost lifelike, as if moving through a forest of vegetation. Caponigro shot it using type 53 Polaroid film, which does not produce a negative but a positive black and white print.
The exhibition features unique prints made while working for Polaroid Corporation.
“Paul’s tenure with the Polaroid Corporation in the 1960s corresponds to a period in the artist’s career when many of his most prolific nature images were made,” says Jennifer Schlesinger, director of Obscura. “What makes this image and the tenure with Polaroid so unique for Paul is that his creativity was flourishing during this time because he was able to experiment with a large amount of film and push his own limits as a filmmaker. artist, while being paid to do so for the very first time in his creative career.
Although abstraction is integral to much of his work, the subject matter is simple. Viewers only have to glance at the title to know exactly what they are watching. Here, there is no question of getting the wrong doll or feathers, but the image teases a narration. In its softness and in the juxtaposition of its disparate elements is a dreamlike surreality, and in its tone, a mysterious sense of dark beauty.