Sunday, October 24, 2010

REVIEW: "After Dark" at Vermont Photo Space Gallery in Essex Junction

By Lindsay Shumway

Recently, I visited the After Dark exhibit at the Vermont Photo Space Gallery, on Main Street in Essex Junction. Walking by the space, it seems like just a tiny building sandwiched between two restaurants. Once inside, the room opens up to high ceilings and white walls, with benches down the middle. There are pictures from right next to the door until the far wall; there isn’t an excess of pieces, but they aren't scarce either. On a table, there are also booklets of pictures from exhibits past, so one can revel in pictures of different subject matter, from exhibits such as Beautiful Things and others.

The exhibition displayed photographers from all around the world - from Vermont to Arizona to India to Australia. All the pictures were taken in the evening or at night. Put together, the pictures worked to present a melancholy, somber feeling. Because they were taken at night, the pictures show things in an unusual way and evoke strong emotions. The ability to use light strategically gave the pictures a different air, adding a touch of mystery. Although the pictures are night scenes, they're all lit up somehow. These photographs definitely go well with the time of year, invoking a spirit similar to that of Halloween.

According to juror Tom Paiva, "A night shot should have a sense of mystery." All the pictures in this exhibit had a mysterious air in common. As members of my high school photography class entered the gallery, their chattering quickly turned into a reverent silence. People spent a good amount of time at each photograph, admiring the works. The people's choice photograph was Porthole by Dan Squires, and a popular one among the photography classes in my high school was Spirits by Steven Duncan. The juror's choice, chosen by Tom Paiva, was Garage, by Katherine Winter.

Being an artist, I felt completely in my element in the gallery and quite enjoyed the photographs. I would say it's definitely worth an hour or so of your time to come check it out. To find more information about the gallery itself and this exhibit, visit