Life's a beach when you're having fun

arts / Article

There's something about standing face-to-face with the ocean across an expansive sandy beach. Not timelessness as lots of folks write about it, but a quickening of life, a feel of force, room to take a breath.

Not everyone sees it that way, of course, including four Akron-area photographers who got together to present their collective show, "Life's a Beach" at Summit Artspace (a Knight Arts grantee).

This exhibit was inspired by a collection of black and white infrared images by Pamela Daum that she titled "Life is a Beach." Her photographs start in Florida and continue to the "North Shore" – that is, Lake Erie – in Ohio.

She teamed up for this exhibit with three other area photographers (Robert Dill, Carl Subich and Charles Szabla), who each share their take on the theme.

Subich's are also set in Florida along with images of lakes in Michigan and Akron. Szabla focuses his camera on the Ohio's north coast, capturing Lake Erie primarily as a backdrop. Dill features the serenity of the water's edge in area woodland settings along regional small lakes and streams (there are beaches everywhere, not just by oceans and lakes).

Robert Dill's "Suburban Landscape #77."

Daum explores the possibilities of infrared, where you can either have color-based properties and colors are substituted – red for green, green for blue, etc. – or have it Daum's way. She strips it all away.

The technique makes for some amazing images. Her "Life is a Beach #23" gives a magical feel as whitened palm trees overflow into deep and dark water underneath a roiling colorless sky.

Pamela Daum's "Life is a Beach #23."

Differently her "2A" is an emblem of beautiful emptiness, with a serene North Coast lake shoving away the horizon while a single large tree stands sentinel should anyone or anything arrive.

Pamela Daum's "Life is a Beach #2A."

Her "#12", with its plank walkway heading into the dunes and to the sea underline a journey alone – not forlorn, but mysterious. Her colorlessness has emotional tones that one might not imagine.

Pamela Daum's "Life is a Beach #12."

Subich examines time-lapsed photography. The technique is often done as multiple images speed up in film to show some effect, like a peach dying or a building falling or a horse running. This photographer, however, takes multiple time-lapsed images in beach settings, then overlays them. Anything moving gets captured while the still places stay stationary.

His "To the Beach" depicts the eternal steadiness of the sea while the people make their rapid way to it for their own enjoyment. The sea has a steeliness to which color is added through the liveliness of the living.

Carl Subich's "To the Beach."

His "Gone Fishin'" gets at the near motionless, lazy bones attitude of a day of fishing, until you catch one. Then things speed up. In this photo, the person moves quickly enough that he blends into the ripples in the water.

Carl Subich's "Gone Fishin'."

The mixture of the person into the background through time-lapsed photography is really cool cause lots of symbolic things can be done with it.

Life's a Beach on exhibit through July 28 at Summit Artspace, 140 E. Market St., Akron; 330-376-8480; www.summitartspace.org. Admission is free.

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