By Taylor Brestel
(Photos by Taylor Brestel)
“They’re just pictures. How interesting can they really be?” I thought as I walked into the Center for Creative Photography. With an exhibit title like “The Lives of Pictures: Forty Years of Collecting at the Center for Creative Photography,” I entered the gallery disinterested, and fully expected to leave the same way. I reminded myself that I only had to stay an hour, a predetermined time I had set to ensure that I wouldn’t speed through the photos and run out after twenty minutes.
Stepping into the first room felt like entering another world, though it contained only three other people. There was the college student sitting at the door with a sheet of paper, conducting a survey about people’s reasons for visiting. There was an older couple already making their way through the photographs, whispering to each other and pointing. And there was me, completely lost in all of this, awkwardly shuffling from one photo to the next.
Aside from the whispering, the rooms were silent. I could hear the ever-present ringing in my ears from too many loud concerts. Apparently Tuesday at noon is not when most people decide to go to a place like this.
The actual exhibit was spread out over connected rooms, with hundreds of pictures displayed for the 40th anniversary of the Center for Creative Photography, established in 1975. However, the photographs were not only from the last forty years. Some were taken much earlier, and some were taken recently.
History was reflected throughout. One room had almost entirely black and white photos; other rooms had more of a balance between old and new images.
The photos themselves were fascinating. Each one was different in both subject and style. Some were of nature, others were of buildings. There were several pictures of people, portraits as well as candid images. And some were completely abstract, confusing but equally as interesting to see. I had to keep reminding myself that these were photographs, not paintings.
Some of the photos had extra information about the photographer or the gallery, and those were interesting to read. One image in particular that I enjoyed was “Playground 3” taken by Lauren Marsolier. It was fairly simple, just a picture of a playground, but something about it made me want to keep looking. Maybe that’s how good art is determined: something that you just can’t look away from. Out of all the pictures, this one stood out to me the most.
This exhibit seemed to go on and on, and it was so easy to get lost in the images, forgetting about the outside world. Somewhere around the second or third room, I stopped wondering how many more pictures there were to see, and I started genuinely enjoying them. By the time I was finished looking at everything, it had been almost two hours. Twice the time I’d allotted.
“The Lives of Pictures: Forty Years of Collecting at the Center for Creative Photography” runs from October 10, 2015 to May 14, 2016
1030 N. Olive Rd, Tucson, AZ, 85721