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Outside Amarillo

© MJ Sharp. Image courtesy of the artist.

Outside Amarillo

Artist: MJ Sharp (Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1960)
Culture: American
Date: 2006 (printed 2012)
Medium: Chromogenic print
50 x 40 inches (127 x 101.6 cm)
State: 2
Edition: 6
Classification: Photograph
Credit Line: Gift of Frank Konhaus, Ellen Cassilly and the Cassilhaus Collection
Label Text:MJ Sharp’s long-exposure night photographs often bring into focus scenes that could be missed during the day, as in this forty-minute exposure of an abandoned silo and its companion house. Taken on an overcast night, with the moon often obscured by cloud cover, the available light was too dim for Sharp to focus her 4x5 Graflex bellows camera on the scene. A passing state trooper, noticing the photographer’s parked car, assisted Sharp by pointing his police spotlight on the silo while she focused her camera, then drove away. A year later, Sharp drove through the same area only to find that the silo and house were in the process of being demolished.

Sharp began producing night scenes in 2004 as a way of exploring the otherworldliness lent to banal settings when illuminated by streetlight or moonlight. The glow produced as white buildings continue to reflect light well after sunset heightens the solitude and calm of Sharp’s nighttime photography. These objects seem to emit an interior radiance that is normally invisible to the human eye and only evident when photographed. Sharp also plays with our experience of time, allowing her shutter to remain open for periods ranging from three minutes to three hours, thereby extending the fleeting moment traditionally thought to be captured by photography and making visible a scene impossible to experience in real time.

Provenance: Purchased by the donor directly from the artist (2012).
Object number: 2012.19.1