Camerawork Gallery 110218

Austin Granger, A Beautiful Sadness

September 29th - November 2nd, 2018
Artist Talk: Saturday, September 29th 3 - 4 PM (calendar)
Artist Reception: Saturday, September 29th 4 - 6 PM

Camerawork Gallery
301 N. Graham Street, Portland, OR 97227
Located in Lorenzen Conference Center - Legacy Emanuel Medical Center Campus.
9am - 6pm, Monday-Saturday, Sunday, 10am-4pm
Free off street parking available, Stair and elevator access

A reviewer once described Austin Granger’s photographs as possessing a “beautiful sadness”–a description which makes him happy. “I want my pictures to make people feel,” Granger says, “I want them to express, through the things of the world, universal human conditions. I want to meet my viewer in the middle. What’s it all for, if not that? “The subject matter in this exhibit is wide-ranging, but the pictures are all of one piece,” notes Granger. “They are all about more than what they show. At least, that’s the way I think of it. I’m interested in whether or not a subject can carry the weight of an emotion or an idea, even if on the surface that subject is not explicitly related to that emotion or idea. I want to make pictures that correspond with the viewer’s interior world—pictures that resonate. I want to make mirrors. I want to bridge the gap and make a connection. Is such a thing possible? I’ve thought about it a lot, and my answer is... sometimes. People bring their minds to their looking at things. I expect the best I can do is to follow my inner compass, and photograph the things that make me feel, in as clear a way as I can, and hope that the viewer will feel then too. “I don’t really know what it is I’m looking for when I’m photographing, but I know it when I see it. When I’m photographing well, I have the uncanny sense that the pictures were already there, just waiting for me. They feel pre-destined. I quiet myself and they appear. Photography for me is passive like that. I put up my antennae and wait. I recognize pictures right away. I recognize how they feel. When it’s going well, I don’t have any doubt about either the subject or how it should look. I recognize my pictures. I know them. They’re like the pieces of a puzzle. I may not know quite what the puzzle is of, but I know which pieces belong to it. Good pictures feel charged. They feel significant. They have a certain ache. And yes, admittedly, sometimes they have a certain sadness. “I’d like to say though, even though my pictures might look sad, I am seldom happier than when I’m making them. And I’d like to think they might make someone else happy too—in the way that listening to sad music can lift our spirits.

“See, I’m a blues photographer!”

Austin Granger is the author of the acclaimed book, Elegy from the Edge of a Continent: Photographing Point Reyes. His pictures have been exhibited in a number of West Coast galleries, including LightBox Photographic Gallery in Astoria, the CAC Gallery in Santa Rosa, and the Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento, and have been featured in magazines such as B&W, Looking Glass, Manifest, and the West Marin Review. His work has graced album covers, a book cover, and Nike basketball shirts.

Born in San Francisco in 1970, Granger has worked as a baker, house painter, naval radar operator, and camera salesman. He first began to photograph while studying philosophy in college as a way to get out of his head. Preferring to use traditional film cameras, Granger has come to see his photography as a spiritual practice–a way in which to shape his life and enrich his relationship with the world.