Pictura Gallery

Amy Friend

Dare Alla Luce

It’s difficult to throw away a photographic print, to bend or tear it. Even as digital images number in the thousands on our hard drives, we run up against something sacred and must pause as we decide to keep or discard a printed photograph, especially when it depicts a person. Why is that exactly?

Amy Friend simultaneously damages and saves her photographs. Poking through the surface of the prints she has found, she restores them; more than that really, she revives and reawakens them. The figures within return to the present world. We don’t know who they are, and we try to guess at their significance. The dots of light are a beautiful, cryptic language, a cypher that seems imperative to decode.

Perhaps the pinholes of light represent the thing that we have a hard time throwing away– a confrontation of both the presence and absence of a person. The light can take on malleable meanings. You can fill the void with a number of things: energy, loss, visitation, the human spirit, a transference of beauty or love, a cut through time. Friend’s images engage by creating two contradictory states at once: they seem to evoke a presence and yet be talking about a loss. They are objects that have been destroyed and have also been made precious in the process.

I have been working on the Dare alla Luce series over a period of several years; initially, I was responding to my interest with ephemera, specifically a collection of vintage photographs, retrieved from a variety of sources both personal and anonymous. I worked my with these images seeing the revisiting them eventually Through hand-manipulated interventions I altered and subsequently re-photographed the images “re-making” photographs that oscillate between what is present and what is absent. I aim to comment on the fragile quality of the photographic object but also on the equal fragility of our lives, our history. All are lost so easily. By employing the tools of photography, I “re-use” light by allowing it to shine through the holes in the images. In a somewhat playful and yet, literal manner, I return the subject of the photographs back to the light, while simultaneously bringing them forward. The images are permanently altered; they are lost and reborn, hence the title, Dare alla Luce, an Italian term meaning, “to bring to the light” in reference to birth. The photographs have new meaning, despite the mysteries they harbor. The title of each piece is significant; some titles were taken directly from the notations found written on the photographs, yet those without any indication of provenance were titled to reference the nuances of photography as a medium and the manner in which we interact with these images.

As I continued to work on this series, I became more aware of the weight each photograph carries. They display moments of love, excitement, solitude, and fragments of stories that will remain unknown.

These photographs are fragments of everything and nothing.

Amy Friend grew up on the outskirts of Windsor, Ontario, Canada where the Detroit River meets Lake St.Clair. She studied at OCADU (Toronto) before embarking on intermittent travels through Europe, Africa, Cuba, and the United States. Upon her return she continued her studies and received a BFA Honours degree and BEd degree from York University, Toronto and an MFA from the University of Windsor. Currently she teaches Fine Arts at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Friend has exhibited nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at the Galerie Riviere/Faiveley (Paris, France), Cordon/Potts Gallery (San Francisco), Houston Center for Photography, Photoville (Brooklyn, New York), 555 Gallery (Boston), Onassis Cultural Center (Greece) and is participating in GuatePhoto, Guatamela (2015) with an upcoming solo exhibition of new work slated for January of 2016 at Rodman Hall Art Center located in the Niagara Region of Ontario.

In 2013, 2014 and 2015 Friend was selected as one of the top 50 photographs in the juried Critical Mass International Photography Competition and has a monograph of the Dare alla Luce series set for release in December of 2015.

Her work has been featured in select publications such as: Contemporary Portraits, (Index Books, Barcelona), Creative Block, (Chronicle Books), EyeMazing (Thames and Hudson), Supernatural (&Magazine, Israel), Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photography Competition (Canada), Virginia Quarterly (USA), Dishun Magazine (Thailand), and The Walrus (Canada).

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