Writing about today’s first, visiting the Paul Caponigro Exhibit at the Spiva Center for the Arts, almost qualifies for a first, in and of itself. Rarely do I complete my first and have the chance to write about it so early in the day. With a busy afternoon and evening planned, I seized the opportunity to stop by Spiva, located at 222 W. 3rd Street, before lunch and view this extraordinary exhibit.
I knew the Main Gallery’s exhibition featured the work of master photographer Paul Caponigro. That’s all I knew. I was not familiar with him, or his photographs. I was in for a treat. As I slowly studied the black and white photographs lining the walls, I was moved by Paul’s eye for landscapes and still lifes. Each piece told a story. I appreciate how photography allows the viewer to see what the photographer sees, and to know what was important to him, so important that he stops time and captures the moment. The use of black and white photography seemed to eliminate distractions and bring the focus sharply into view. There was a mystical quality to his work. I was enchanted.
Paul Caponigro has captured scenes from all over the world. This exhibit included pictures from the US, England, Japan, Wales, Ireland, Italy, and to my delight, Scotland. I enjoyed the pieces titled Scottish Thistle 1 and 2. I was drawn to the magical photos of Stonehenge and other stone megaliths and domens. The ancient secrets contained in those portals and stone circles are fascinating to me.
I discovered that Paul, born in 1932, is an American photographer known for his stunning landscapes and still lifes. His interest in photography began as a young teenager, although he also had a strong passion for music. He began studying music at Boston University College of Music before switching to the study of photography at California School of Fine Art. When I looked him up on google, I found that he is known also for the mystical and spiritual qualities in his work, which confirmed what I felt while viewing his photographs. He has said that photography is a medium, a language, through which he might come to experience directly, live more closely with, the interaction between himself and nature. That interaction, that connection, is evident in his work.
Paul says, “In my years of photography I have learned that many things can be sensed, seen, shaped or resolved in a realm of quiet, well in advance of, or between, the actual clicking of shutters and the sloshing of films and papers in chemical solutions. I work to attain “a state of heart”, a gentle space offering inspirational substance that could purify one’s vision. Photography, like music, must be born in the unmanifest world of spirit.” Amazing and inspiring. I appreciate the beauty in his photographs and in his soul, and how he offers both to the world through his art. Today, I became a Paul Caponigro fan.
Special note…Taking photos of the pieces in the exhibit is not allowed, and understandably so. I was able to locate online samples of Paul’s work to share here.