Display Cases in the Great Hall: Exhibition Archive

Gary Schneider

21 September to 2 November 2015


Gary Schneider’s extraordinary nude photographs, 2001-2005, evolved from working with a small flashlight in total darkness, sustaining the exposure on film for about an hour, to trace whole body portraits of friends. Perfecting the process over several years, he created unusual studies that explore both psychological and physical presence. Schneider muses that “there are so many variables” in creating frank yet mysterious and unique individual portraits, which are photographic records of the performance of exposure.

Schneider describes the counting process during film exposure, and the complexity of the interaction with his subjects:

“I count the light out loud—it becomes a chanting meditation for me, and my subject becomes as involved in my performance as I am in theirs. The only task I ask of my subject is to gaze toward the lens…To break the camera face, I have different strategies. I count, make comments, make the subject blink while exposing each eye, and so on. The information is accumulated sequentially on one sheet of film. Just as a movie unfolds in real time, so I build the image by exposing one part of the person after another with my tiny light. If I add more light, it emphasizes that body part; conversely, not enough light and that area never becomes visible. I expose the parts of the body in the same sequence in order to exaggerate the differences between each person’s performance. I photograph the head, then move down the right side, then up the left side. In all of the portraits there is an interesting shift in the gaze, from the right eye to the left eye. This is a result of the long interval between exposing the two eyes. What happens during the session remains private, an intimate act between me and the subject. There is an enormous amount of information collected during the session, both emotional and physical…accumulation of all this information is impossible to interpret simply or decisively.”

CASE ONE : NAYLAND, 2004, pigmented ink on canvas
CASE TWO: LAURA, 2002, pigmented ink on canvas
56.75 x 26.75 inches

All works silver gelatin prints, Courtesy of the Artist
Curated by Lisa A. Banner