David Benjamin Sherry

10.05.2012 in19:58 in Creative,photoart -->


28 year old photographer David Benjamin Sherry creates enthusiastic, eccentric photographs that transform the landscape, his friends, and himself into a sometimes psychedelic, sometimes punk, always rich and rather glamorous fantasy of youth in paradise. His first book, It’s Time (Damiani), collects 48 photographs taken since 2006, when Sherry entered the Yale MFA program, and represents the artist’s body of art photography to date through exotic locales, and posed yet intimate moments. In the book we see Death Valley rendered spearment and mirrored over a horizontal axis, such that the center of the picture appears like a vagina; elsewhere the artist is painted gold like an Oscar Award, set against a wave of cliffs straight with the color palate of a Jodorowsky film. In the book’s title photograph (2007), a dashing skinhead is shot from below, the trees and the sky visible behind him. The color is bleached out, so the photograph looks like a photocopy from a zine (particularly those by Toronto punk-chapbook publishers GB Jones and Bruce Labruce).
Another bifurcation: this one is at two-thirds the height of the portrait, so that the sky both opens and closes, and the point of view becomes entirely disorienting.
The cover of the It’s Time is a photograph of a cotton-candy Mt. Adams, Washington, pasted atop the cloth binding. It’s an immediate tip-off to Sherry’s dual interests in effervescent naturalism, and the material processes of photography. In interviews, Sherry consistently emphasizes that he doesn’t digitally manipulate his work, which seems a moot point in an age where digital is the norm. But Sherry cares about analog photography, and his prints require extensive research, and a whole lot of patience, both on-site and in the dark room, to achieve. Describing an interest in process that defies cold formalism, Sherry says, “If I am romantic of the past for one thing, it would have to be the handwork, feel, emotional content, labor-intensive and traditional printing of photography.” If photoshopping a picture relies on the assumption that a picture is a normalized fiction, Sherry’s method holds out hope for an abnormal reality, even permitting, however melancholically, that the moment didn’t occur quite as dramatically as it was recorded: “It’s all about giving life to a still moment and trying to re-capture that energy through color, trial and error, and surprise.”