The Crows Woke Me. Meet The Artist John Small

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The Crows Woke Me.   Meet The Artist   John Small
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West of Lenin says
Come and meet the artist behind our current photography exhibition!

5:30-10:30.
Happy Hour until 7pm.


John Small The Crows Woke Me. 2015 My early morning walks awakened with my first “serious” digital camera ten years ago. My attention to the crows awakened. Their presence in the early mornings became a dominant part of the landscape. As I write this, I realize with complete surprise that my attention reawakened. When I was fourteen, I had a paper route in a forest-surrounded neighborhood at the north end of Lake Washington. At dawn the crows come to work. On the weekends I joined them, delivering the Seattle Times. The crows had the world to themselves while the families slept. I snuck into their quiet world on my bike. The crows calling from treetops could be heard across the neighborhood. I’m sure they were talking about my intrusion. I still love the privilege of putting one tentative foot into a world that isn’t quite ours. The surprise is how deeply that paper route shaped this contemplative part of my life. Those Sunday dawn worlds in the Pacific Northwest were misty, chilly, crystal clear, damp, muted, and shadowy. No clock. No hurry. I walked, listened, smelled and looked. I learned to identify planets. I could clearly see the dark portions of the moon. I learned the treasure of solitude. I still wake up at dawn every day. This collection is inspired by a decade of gathering crow images, and by the sense that the dawn world belongs to them. On camera walks, I do not have a subject in mind and often it is not the crows, but there’s always a sense that they are, even unseen, in the picture and that they are the keepers of the world outside. As with my paperboy days, I prefer being out in the Fall and Winter. It is darker and quieter, and no silence is more perfect than the silence of snow. Had I taken pictures on my paper route, I’m certain I would have included them. Process: The word camera comes from “Camera Obscura” meaning “darkened chamber". I think of my camera as a tiny room in which a blank canvas hangs, upon which I direct and collect light. The particular light collected, the quality of it, and over what length of time are elements that can be intentionally chosen while capturing a photograph. My choices are guided by my emotional response to the moment. Thinking of a photograph as a painting, rather than an image of something allows me to communicate my experience, rather than try to objectively document what was there. My aim is to communicate my emotion of the moment, and inspire an emotional response in the viewer. What that response might be is beyond my control or ability to know. When people respond with their own emotion to my photographs, I know I have succeeded.
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By: West of Lenin

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