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High-res digital meets old-school lens photography at Tacoma’s Brick House gallery

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on Sep. 27, 2011 at 10:16 am with No Comments »
September 27, 2011 10:16 am
Ralff Somoff, "Empire State Building." Courtesy photo.

It’s been up awhile now, but “Impressions – Real and Imagined” is very much worth a look. Up through October at Brick House Gallery in downtown Tacoma, the show takes up two separate houses and cover two very different photographers: Ralff Somoff, whose old-school lens trickery creates a surrealist style, and Winston Swift Boyer, whose incredibly high resolution digital landscapes capture every tiny fleck of seaspray or leaf.

Winston Swift Boyer, "Point Lobos Coast and Trail." Courtesy photo.

Boyer’s work is often inspired by his Carmel, CA environment: There are seascapes, rolling green hills, leafy forests. His enormous “canvases” are painterly, capturing landscapes at striking moments – a breaking wave, a thunderstorm – with phenomenal detail. The hills are as tangible as green felt, the mists wet, the autumn leaves as thick as tapestry. As an effect it’s brilliant, though at a superhuman scale.

Ralff Somoff, "Red China." Courtesy photo.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Ralff Somoff, who layers multiple exposures, turned or colored lenses and an ironic sense of humor into intimate Kodachrome photographs that turn the real into the surreal. In “Red China” a man rests one foot on a bridge; clad in Mao suit, his black silhouette seems to step boldly into a river dazzling with red stars thanks to a red-filter lens – an idyllic Communist metaphor. There’s Seattle with city lights wavering as if underwater, Venice tucked under a rearing knight statue or Berlin with rush-hour pedestrians melting into each other like busy ghosts. Somoff favors an infra-red filter, painting his shots with vermilions and blues, which adds to the surrealism.

“Impressions – Real and Imagined” is on view by appointment and on third Thursdays from 5-9 p.m. through October. Free. Brick House Gallery, 1123 S. Fawcett St., Tacoma. 253-627-0426, www.thebrickhousegallery.com


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