Photojournalist Wil Sands takes photographs of crime scenes–but not in the way that you’re used to.
Before April, few people knew who Baltimore photographer Devin Allen was. Then came April’s unrest, which Allen chronicled with a careful eye and a real affection for the city. One of his candid shots even made the cover of Time–and now that image is being called one of the best magazine covers of 2015.
Greg Dohler is that rarest humanoid: a nice guy who can hold down a full-time job, show up socially on time, and cook dinner, but also a guy gifted with superbly special creative vision he knows how to bring to life. You might also know him as the lanky blond drummer from Baltimore bands Helikopter (early ’90s) and, until recently, Small Apartments. Greg and his wife, Cindy France, are good friends of my husband–now they’re also mine–so I’ve had some patient time to sit on their black vintage couch, drink the classic cocktails Greg researches and mixes up, and listen to him think out loud. When Greg showed me his new photo montage work last year, I remember I was sitting on a step in his house in Ham Roll (where Hampden meets Roland Park). I wanted to convey how much I liked the work–because I did–but first I just wanted to fall into it, to belong to its luxuriously weird world. A child in a kerchief, from another age, rode a donkey; an old woman haunted a marshy landscape; a Baltimore rowhouse’s second story perched precariously at an eerie coastline. (See above the same photo I recall, “Home.”) “Wow,” I whispered dully. Every element worked together so organically–if surreally–I felt like I was inside the frame finding my legs on a new planet. I’ve seen surreal photo montage now and again, and it has never really been my cup of (bloody) tea, but Greg’s digitally blended work feels wholly other. There’s a destructive/redemptive quality to Dohler’s vision, a longing, a mourning, and yet a hopeful magic at play here. A comparison? Not easy. Kiki Smith’s gentle rendering of girl and beast in “Lying with the Wolf” pops to mind. But mostly I’m reminded how well Greg sees with his mind’s eye. (A bio side note that makes more sense to me than ever: Greg’s dad was the beloved low-budget sci-fi and horror film director Don Dohler. )
I talked to my friend about the genesis of his photo project and what he’s working on now. You can catch his latest work starting tomorrow and running through September 20th at 13.5% Wine Bar in Hampden–1117 W. 36th Street. To see more of Greg’s art visit his website.
Devin Allen, the 26-year-old Baltimore native, captured the nation’s attention with his photographs of the recent unrest in Baltimore. His shots, posted on Instagram, were favorited by Rihanna and Beyonce; he was featured on NPR and MTV; and one of his images was selected for the cover of Time, only the third time the magazine has so featured the work of an amateur photographer.
Remember that crazy storm on Monday night? The one with all that crazy lightning? Many of us probably huddled inside; fortunately for us, Baltimore photographer Tim Shahan ventured out to get some gorgeous photos of both ground lightning and a few cloud-to-cloud strikes.
In the 1970s, photographer Elinor Cahn was a student at MICA. For an assignment in a class on social documentary, Cahn began making a photographic record of her East Baltimore neighbors. That project grew into the East Baltimore Documentary Photography Project, a treasure trove of Baltimore arcana from the recent past.
Few things are more central to being human than the concept of home. For as long as there have been people, we’ve been finding, making, building homes wherever we find ourselves. Homes look and feel different around the world, but they’re always a place of nurturing, growth and comfort. They’re where we find ourselves and spend time with the loved ones we value. And yet, so many of these places that bring us an internal sense of stability are precarious. It’s this concern that’s at the center of Solidarity 2: Home is Not a Commodity, the new photographic exhibit opening at MICA on February 6th.