by Rick Deragon
February 4, 1993
One doesn’t quickly assign adjectives such as “emotional” to photographic subjects like construction or excavation sites, nor does one think of the mechanical device, the camera, as a tool that renders emotion readily. For on the construction site, one finds calculation and impersonality; on the excavation site heartlessness, persistence.
Without conscience, the camera records what is before it in all the subject’s detailed splendor, outdoing the human eye in what can be captured and, therefore, studied, in an instant. It is the camera’s ability to document, to both devour and delineate pictorial fact, that has kept us fascinated for decades.
It is the art of photographer to be able to transform the documentary characteristic of the camera/film into an expression of the photographer’s sensibilities. With mastery of the rudiments of mechanics, an eye for the special moment of exposure, and an instinct for a photographic vision—a melding of intellect, sight and insight—the fine-art photographer selects and captures on film the fleeting moment.
Two unlikely subjects are explored in series by two photographers at the Center for Photographic Art at Sunset Center in Carmel. In a duel exhibition titled Vast Endeavors, Mark Citret and Joel Leivick examine their subjects in two bodies of work that complement each other. Each photographer’s series is a singular statement; but the two series, paired as they . are, play off each other, and add to the complexity of both.
Citret looks at diverse aspects of a massive building project on the dunes near San Francisco, a sewage-treatment plant, and how the structure gradually takes shape over weeks in the coastal fog and sun.
Leivick turns his viewfinder to the quarries in the mountains above Carrara, Italy. His pictures show how workers scrape, cut and burrow into the earth’s crust to extract the brilliant Carrara marble.