Often the art of photography doesn’t get as much attention for gallery shows, but this month two exhibits demonstrate a wide variety of equipment and subjects. At Bunnell Street Arts Center, Fairbanks photographer Adam Ottavi returns with a technology that duplicates 19th century methods. Last spring, Ottavi did a residency at Bunnell taking portraits in the wet-plate collodion technique — making images using chemicals on glass plates and with a camera he built himself. With poet Kevin Goodan, Ottavi presents a collaborative show, “Let That Fire Catch Me Now,” images and poems about wildfire ruins. Ottavi also will be doing another residency, again doing portraits, but this time with another antique method, the tintype.
Fireweed Gallery returns for First Friday after a February hiatus with “Aurora,” photographs by Dennis Anderson. While Ottavi is down to earth with people and landscapes, Anderson soars to the heavens with his images of the northern lights. Like Ottavi, Anderson uses film cameras he made himself that he calls “Franken-cameras,” assembled from mid-20th century lenses and bodies. Also like Ottavi, Anderson takes long exposures, in this case to capture the low light of the elusive aurorae.
Cameras often are thought of as portable while painting uses bulky easels, canvases and paints. Shows this month reverse that conception. It’s the equipment of Ottavi and Anderson that’s heavy, while Homer artist and teacher Alayne Tetor packs light when she goes backpacking, taking a small watercolor painting kit. Some of the paintings in her show, “awAKenings,” come from works done on wilderness adventures.
First Friday runs into Saturday this month with a bonus from the Bunnell show: a poetry reading at 1 p.m. Saturday by Goodan.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.