Hyper / Reality
Amos Eno Gallery Exhibition
October 7-Nov 14, 2021

Merriam-Webster defines hyperreal thusly; Hyperreal: marked by extraordinary vividness.  The LIGHTSCAPE series is the embodiment of this phenomenon.     

Early in my career as a photographer I did a lot of traveling to locations and jobs.  I did my own color lab work and experimented with photo lab processes and ways of producing images that weren’t necessarily recognizable as having been made with a camera.  I found that placing the camera and moving light around it produced some interesting, non-objective effects.  If I moved the camera during the process it got more abstract and if I put the camera on the dashboard of my vehicle while driving down the Las Vegas Strip with the shutter open, all sorts of beautiful things started to happen.  I began setting up shots like this as I drove to the locations for my paying work.  I also began to incorporate other camera platforms and illumination sources and I began to think of it as painting with light.

I began the LIGHTSCAPE series of work in the early 1970’s on film and still add to it when productive situations occur, but now I do it digitally. I had relegated this abstract work on film, to some retrospective later in life.  I was scanning my film images so that work was available for archiving when the pandemic hit.  The lock-down provided an excellent opportunity, and time, to scan and retouch these images and in some cases improve them with digital image processing.

These light paintings provided a creative diversion quite different from my day job as an environmental photographer and videographer.  In most cases the work I produced for clients was documentary and literal, usually pre-visualized and specific to the subject.  The Lightscapes were a cipher, having no basis in physical reality but a record of the light phenomena that had occurred as I passed through some illuminated environment, ephemeral but hyperreal as defined by Merriam-Webster.

Grant Johnson

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