Best FotoFest Show - 2008
Michael Somoroff: "The Absence of the Subject" at Deborah Colton Gallery
2445 N. Blvd.
Houston, TX 77098
Michael Somoroff (the mastermind behind the Rothko Chapel installation Illumination I) took more than two dozen photographs from legendary German photographer August Sander's collection "People of the Twentieth Century" and removed the people. His meticulous touch-ups made it look as if they were never there: In Pharmacist, all that was left was a tall bush next to a brick wall; in Blind Children, two open books on a table; and in Working Class Family, an empty chair. Somoroff spent more than two years reworking Sander's pieces, and even went as far as to animate some of the images so that leaves and books' pages subtly rustle in the wind, furthering the emptiness of each piece. Somoroff's process made these more than just ordinary scenes; the absence of the subject, as it were, put everything into a context that induced goose bumps and our appreciation of patience.