Current DisplayLedyard Gallery:
Shadow, Snow, Hartland Vermont by John Lehet
Anicca (Impermanence) by John Lehet.
Saturday, December 6 through Sunday, January 4
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 6 from 2-4pm
John Lehet writes:
I’ve been making archival, carefully crafted fine art photographs in the Upper Valley for over 25 years, starting as a Dartmouth student in the darkroom in the basement of Robinson Hall. Through this period I’ve worked with a view camera and 4 x 5 inch film, medium format, in my own darkroom, and now to digital capture and output. I’m finding that the pigment-ink prints on fine art paper I’m getting (after long days) with modern technology surpass the prints I was able to pull after long days in the darkroom.
While I consider good technique and equipment to be essential in conveying a strong statement, technique is in the service of the message, not an end. The point is whether an image can ring us like a bell, create a resonance with the world; the visual endpoint of a finished piece is more like a trick to effect that impact. The technology is in the service of the emotional experience, the connection with a bigger view of the world.
This show is based loosely on a theme of “Anicca,” (Pali) impermanence, which is a view of reality central to Buddhist experience. In this view, all aspects of the world are more like smoke than rock, even the most solid-seeming characteristics: solid rock, our sense of self -- no matter what, it is subject to countless causes and conditions for its existence and might as well be dew on a flower petal. The White Mountains of New Hampshire were once taller than the Himalayas are now. Stone walls stood intact across open meadows across our lands. I’m not the same person I was twenty years ago. Thank goodness. That experience of mutability has influenced the creation and selection of this group of images.
This is a view of the world that becomes clearer with the practice of meditation, and I’ve been practicing meditation longer than I’ve been making photographs. So meditation has always been a part of my approach. It’s not like I set up my camera on a tripod and say, “Om” or anything like that. It’s just that my vision of the world has evolved as that of a long term meditator, and the camera/printing work is a part of that. I look at the world with careful discrimination, wide open and vulnerable, and I feel resonance from visual situations. I owe a great deal of my ability to be open, perceptive, responsive, resonant, and emotionally rich to the meditation practice. My photography is all about this.
Photography and the view of impermanence end up being a collision of opposites, as manifest in this show. The photograph seems to freeze a moment; there is inherently a sense of stopping time. Of course, time did not stop. Really what we keep is a visual pattern, a world of its own no longer with anything but an imaginary connection to the bigger world, which has gone on its way. The contradiction at some level makes the experience of the impermanence deeper and more poignant, in an odd way. We see what was. We know it's gone.
These images are of transient states, places that are no longer the same, fleeting light and atmosphere, frost and dew. A wall of Post Pond images represents Post Pond as more of a process than a thing. The same vantage points, the same place, but everything is different. Really, it’s the same in every situation.
Display Cases in December:
Cafe Area Case: Vintage calculators from Owen Versteeg's collection.
Teen Area Case: Chess sets from Gene Tappen's collection.
Ledyard Gallery in January: Artwork by Hanover High School students