“Some things are beautiful not because they conform to an ideal measure of perfection but precisely because they so freely depart from any such standard,” writes photographer Ricardo Barros in his curator statement for the exhibit Particular Beauty at the Dalet Gallery in Philadelphia through Aug. 15. “These things distinguish themselves by the grace, and lack of self-awareness, with which they assert their own identity… Many paths lead to beauty. No one path is better than any other, although some are well worn and others remain untread. In forging their own way, these six photographers remind us that beauty is not a static destination. Beauty can take many forms.”
Maia Reim, whose “The Buttons Collector” is pictured here, finds beauty in abandoned spaces: once stunning floral wallpaper peeling off the wall, a once comforting quilt now draped over the hard bare springs of an abandoned bed, even a woman’s undergarment suggesting more sensual times. In a photograph titled “Alone” (I’m almost tempted to call it a painting) she finds magnificent color on a ruined wall.Simon Laufer, whose work I have never seen before, is mesmorizing with his “Driving in the Rain” series. He creates impressionistic landscapes by focusing his camera on the patterns of rain on his windshield, with headlights creating the color on these otherwise gray days. And I’m so glad he doesn’t use the windshield wipers.
Borrowing again from Mr. Barros’ eloquence: “Laufer was not frustrated in trying to look through a rain-drenched windshield; he found beauty by looking at it. He noticed that water bends light. Laufer played with his camera’s focus to discover that the effects differ depending on whether he focused near or far. He often released his shutter at moments revealing least about the exterior space. He made interior photographs, and through these he opened a portal to an inner world. Laufer’s imagery is a Zen garden, delivering to us an invitation for inner contemplation.”