Daily Art Moment: Jonathan Calm

Double Vision, Jonathan Calm, pigment print. A vertical rectangular photograph of man using a camera on a tripod near an oceanside cliff. The man is seen from the side, his camera pointed to the left. The camera has a large black bellows attached to a lens and stands on light colored wooden tripod legs. The man is mostly concealed under a dark cloth with only his bare legs and the fingers of one hand visible. He is dark skinned and barefoot. He stands on rough, brown ground with cliffs and the ocean behind his. The upper half of the photo contains a pale blue sky.

In the self-portrait Double Vision (Record), artist Jonathan Calm assumes the position of past and present-day landscape photographers—standing under a dark cloth, using a large-format view camera. He poses in the act of creating an image of the California coastline, a site long favored by revered “masters” of photography like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Under typical circumstances, Calm’s skin color would not be visible to passersby, most of whom would probably visualize a white photographer under the dark cloth. Calm’s pointed inclusion of his unclothed body asks us to question our assumptions about who is most welcome in the world of landscape photography, who has easy access to the landscape, and who is free to move through nature with little or no resistance. This photograph, new to the Museum’s collection, will make its Portland debut in the upcoming exhibition, Ansel Adams in Our Time.

Julia Dolan, The Minor White Curator of Photography

Jonathan Calm (African-American, born 1971). Double Vision (Record), 2018. Pigment print. Museum Purchase: Photography Fund, 2020.25.1. Image courtesy the artist and Rena Bransten Gallery © Jonathan Calm.

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