Juxtapoz Magazine - With Soft Eyes: Photographs by Austin Leong, Adrian Martinez, and Henry Wessel

With Delicate Eyes at the Middle for Photographic Art characteristics images taken in California more than the last 6 several years by present-day Bay Area–based photographers Austin Leong and Adrian Martinez and chosen functions also shot in California by the late Henry Wessel. Working largely with 35mm black-and-white movie, Leong, Martinez, and Wessel display how photography is uniquely positioned to describe with lyricism, poignancy, and humor what is normally ignored in working day-to-day everyday living.

The exhibition’s title alludes to the way Wessel once explained how he photos in the environment, with an active recognition he termed “soft eyes”: “It is a actual physical sensation. You are not seeking for a little something. You are open, receptive. At some place you are in front of some thing that you cannot overlook.” Wessel’s being familiar with of and strategy to the medium proceeds to resonate with contemporary photographers like Leong and Martinez, whose cameras are always at the ready as they mindfully notice their surroundings.

Just as Wessel documented cultural signifiers distinct to his time—lone cellular phone booths, roadside promotion signals, and era-precise design—Leong and Martinez capture ubiquitous cellphones, mask-clad faces, and graffiti punctuating the urban landscape. Even so, a timelessness pervades lots of of the pictures—a feeling that the folks, locations, or scenes depicted transcend the singularity of their second. They exemplify how spending shut focus and becoming responsive to the environment as it is unfolding can expose the surprising in the seemingly mundane.

A grouping of pictures from Wessel’s iconic body of operate California and the West anchors the exhibition. These photos supply a formal, aesthetic, and conceptual framework versus which to look at how Leong and Martinez work in just this lineage though extending its visible vocabulary into the current. The shared sensibilities amid the 3 reverberate throughout the clearly show, perhaps most plainly when their photos are aspect by facet, as in the heart of the gallery house. But even when seen separately, the connective threads are unmistakable.

The exhibition is curated by Allie Haeusslein.