Last Thursday was the opening of Michael David Murphy’s show “Certainty Principle” at Spruill Gallery. Although I had reservations about hiking up to Dunwoody (my car shudders a bit when told it must travel outside the perimeter), the show was well worth the mileage investment. Love the thoughtfulness and humor in his work. But there was one part of the show that I literally cannot stop thinking about. Unphotographables.
As a photographer I can completely relate to this idea of the unphotographable. Images that cannot be captured with a camera because a still image would not be able to describe the poignancy of a scene. . . or because you left your camera at home. I only wish I had the genius idea to write these unphotographables down and then the further genius to create an installation of them.
Tucked in the hallway leading from the main exhibit room to a back viewing room where Michael’s videos are playing (“Stoppage” is well worth the Dunwoody trip alone) are frames hung on the wall with no photograph inside. A line is drawn from each frame to a description of the photograph that was not taken. The unphotographable moment. Have I said “genius”? Many describe a scene with that has a striking social commentary, some describe a beautiful moment, and others are so hilarious I laughed out loud. All of them paint a picture in your mind, perhaps one more vivid and memorable than if the photograph had actually been taken. My favorite: “This is a picture I did not take of a woman in a green sweatshirt, exiting a public bathroom, eating a hotdog.”