Unseen Color

2024 Wallace Street
Philadelphia, Pa

MARCH 10 – APRIL 14, 2012

In 1986, photographer and Photo Review founder and editor Stephen Perloff had a “30 Year Retrospective” at Haverford College, as he included a picture of his parents he made at the age of eight with his Davy Crockett camera. Perloff actually started seriously making photographs ten years later, in 1966, and has had a lengthy career that has included studies of the built environment of Philadelphia, a rephotographic project in the city (Philadelphia Past and Present), images made in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, and a multi-year study of the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, which famously had a coal mine fire burning beneath it. He has also made numerous portraits of people like photographers W. Eugene Smith and Emmet Gowin, monologist and actor Spalding Gray, feminist Kate Millett, poet Elizabeth Alexander — who read at President Obama's inauguration — and dancer Lucas Hoving, among others. Most of those photographs were made with a 4x5-inch view camera. Among his 35mm work are images made on travels to Europe and the Far East and a moving series of the last seven months of his father’s life titled “Dying at Home.”

But except for two SX-70s that were included in a Brooklyn Bridge centennial show in New York City in 1986, the work he has exhibited has always been in black-and-white. Perloff often shot color along with black-and-white, but he never really learned to print color and never exhibited this work.

Automatic Bible   Stephen Perloff
With the advent of digital technologies, however, Perloff has revisited this work, scanned the Kodachrome slides, which are still pristine, and made new digital prints. “I always knew there were wonderful images among my color work,” Perloff recalls, “but after looking at them a couple of times and maybe having a slide show once in a while for a couple of friends, the work went into storage and was somewhat forgotten. I realized that with a high-quality scanner and printer I could bring these images back to life and the results have been everything I imagined.”

Movie Posters, Jerusalem  Stephen Perloff
Perloff’s color work goes back to 1966, with images made in Philadelphia, at the West Virginia
State Fair in 1978, on his trips abroad, and especially to the Far East in 1977 and Romania in
1982, as well as trips cross country in 1970, 1978, and 1979.

“This show will have a sampling of some 20 images, but there are many more I hope will be exhibited,” Perloff says. “That’s why I titled this exhibition ‘Unseen Color, Part I.’ We’ll see!”

Stephen Perloff “Unseen Color, Part I,” The Light Room Gallery, 2024 Wallace St., Philadelphia, PA 19130, 215/765-0262, www.thelightroom.org, Friday–Saturday 12–4 p.m., and by appointment, March 10 – April 14. Opening reception, Saturday, March 10, 2–6 p.m. Closing> reception, Saturday, April 14, 2–6 p.m., artist’s talk at 4 p.m.

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