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Photomatter Blog is an extension of Photomatter.com's Photography web site featuring photos by James Markus. The blog will focus on photography, business practices, equipment, new photographic creations, important photographic news/information, recent work, and my occasional posts.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Seattle Center Double Feature

There are two installations within the Chihuly exhibit at the Seattle Center. You really should go and experience it in person. Here is a teaser for Chihuly's absolute mastery of glass making from a room full of bowls...
 
 I thought I would post some images from the Seattle Center Chihuly installation since they are allowing photography, and I did want to encourage people to go see it for two reasons. Chihuly glass is like the Fuji Velvia of the photography world. The colors are simply amazing. Here is just a part of the ceiling of one room...
The amazing artwork continues for room after room until you are outside, and then it continues outside as well. This is a massive installation.  I talked to some of the cleaning crew about the many hours that are spent each and every night (approximately 5 hours) cleaning and polishing this exhibit. Some pieces are literally the size of a tree...
But, there is another incredible photography related treasure at the exhibit. In the very first Chihuly room, on the right hand wall as you enter...is what appears to be volume nine of Edward Curtis's "North American Indian" photos cut into individual prints covering the entire wall  with about 50 or 60+ photos.
Edward Curtis had the foresight to photograph many disappearing tribes, cultures, and other native American ceremonies. He even made thousands of audio recordings. It is probably the most epic and thorough photographic anthropological record of any culture ever undertaken. There were only about 250 of the 20 volume sets ever created with approximately 2100 total images published. Curtis' life's work spanned 30 years, and ultimately cost him his marriage. There is a great documentary about him on Netflix called "Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians". That I would highly recommend watching. Anyway, to actually see one of these volumes was simply amazing, and very unexpected. Additionally, there were dozens of native American blankets, and exquisitely woven baskets.

I witnessed the rapt awe in a child's face while there - as she drank in a hanging Chihuly work from her stroller. His artwork hits at a very basic level that even a toddler can appreciate.