Paul Hester: "Doing Time in Houston 1966-2011"

Paul Hester's photography shades in the revolving moments of our everyday lives with the context of time and place -- where we were and where we are going -- and his exhibition, "Doing Time in Houston 1966-2011," tells these stories.

Organized on a continuum, the work, which is on display at Architecture Center Houston, documents the ever-transforming architecture and streets of Houston over the past 45 years. In collaborating with other photographers and re-examining and juxtaposing photographs of the past and present, Hester weaves together these images and reveals that even the simple, ephemeral moments of the ordinary can convey the complex movement of our lives.

"I wanted the viewer to think that if they had been there they would have seen exactly the same thing," Hester tells Art Attack. "That ordinary, everyday kind of stuff...something that we would rush through to catch a bus, to get to the next meeting... photography, it holds everything still, it slows us down, it's contemplative."


Hester, an American Institute of Architects Houston 2010 Artist of the Year and recipient of Texas Society of Architects' 2010 John G. Flowers Award, began his career as a documentary photographer, seeking to simply detail what he saw and make the images transparent.

2010 Houston AIA Honor Awards Committee Chair William Stern compares the caliber of Hester's work and his artistic eye to that of American architectural photographer Julius Schulman.

"Paul [Hester] is certainly in that great tradition," Stern tells Art Attack. "And this recognition is long overdue...he is not just an architectural photographer, but a journalistic one. And he is among a small group of architectural photographers who have elevated photographing buildings and places to an art."

The scenes that Hester captures, and the people in them, have become a tapestry of time, place and circumstance -- a window into how photographs of the past and present, held together, can reopen these spaces for us to experience.

"To be able to appreciate those quiet, still moments, even without the camera," Hester says. "If you're lucky, the photograph can bring back the smell, or the feel, or what you wore that day, or who you were with, or what was going on in your mind. I think that's important."

Through August 12, 315 Capitol.

Scroll through to see more images by Paul Hester.

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