Michael Benson

Longview Gallery-

1234 Ninth Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 232-4788

I’ve never been a huge fan of photography as fine art.  Cindy Sherman dressing up and taking photographs of herself is interesting, but give me the chance to compare it to a Chuck Close portrait, I would always argue that anything Close paints has more personality.  

Still, I remember someone coming to MICA one year and giving a talk involving innovation and art.  He showed us one image at the end of his discussion where an artist had gone to the Laundromat, poured photography chemicals into one of the machines facing a window, and somehow managed to turn the damn thing into a camera.  He stood in front of the little window (where you can usually see your clothes going round and round) for the duration of the washing cycle and at the end, you can see his ghostly silhouette in the picture.  I’ve been searching for the image I saw in my youth on the internet for a couple of days now, and can’t seem to find any trace of the unknown artist.   

I guess what has made me go on my mad search for the unknown photographer is recently; I had gone to an exhibition of photography that made me want to give photography another chance. Longview Gallery, next to the convention center in DC, is exhibiting photographs by interplanetary probes.  NASA has files upon files of photographs taken by million dollar cameras that are visions of planets as far away as Uranus.  Michael Benson took the time to flip though the pictures and selected images that had potential to become what we earthlings call fine art.  Course, he isn’t exactly the photographer, the robots are.  Mr Benson acts more or less as the editor and refiner of the images, piecing them together like a mosaic, reassembling the panoramic.  I don’t intend to discredit him in any way; it takes a trained and artistic eye to create the perfect abstract compositions out of space matter.  They are that, perfect compositions, almost tactile drawings.

Exhibition through October 24th,   http://www.longviewgallerydc.com/

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