By Erica Fugger
that specializes in making special ornate wooden birdcages.” The contrast with the photograph featured below her of a “bunker underground from the Presidential Palace in Ho Chi Minh City where South Vietnamese leaders could be secure while still in contact in the event of bomb attacks” creates a quite remarkable presentation.
In the first shot, the woman lives in a traditional village, but communicates using modern technology. In the second photograph, an understanding of the location invokes images of the traditional nature of the Presidential Palace, but with the realization that the threat of bombing, and the use of telephones themselves, is quite a modern one.
As Benjamin states, “The juxtaposition of the system of telecommunications then and now is interesting.” These contrasts also demonstrate a similarity between the photographs that would be difficult to observe separately because of their substantial differences in setting.
Whether it is being entranced by a market in Bac Ha, Vietnam; gazing longingly at the Arno River in Florence, Italy; viewing the Manhattan skyline from the rooftop of Ellis Island; or smiling at the dining couple in Cannes, France; Martin Benjamin’s exhibition creates a sense of awe for the photographs themselves and wonder at the artistry through which the images were captured.
As a recent press release describes, “The photographs call to mind both nostalgic and emotional responses to the people and environments the artist encounters.” The very title of the exhibition, “Bull’s Eye,” conjures up images of yesteryear through reflections on Benjamin’s first Kodak Bull’s-Eye Brownie Camera from childhood.
Open to the public daily, Bull’s Eye: New Photographs by Martin Benjamin is showing in the Mandeville Gallery of the Nott Memorial through May 22, and serves as an artistic display of both local and international significance.
For more information on Professor Benjamin’s photography, please visit his website: http://www.martinbenjamin.com, or contact the Mandeville Gallery directly at (518) 388-6729.