Opening Reception: Thursday May 3rd 5.30–7.30pm
"Who has the time today, really the time, to grow, to unfold, and develop in an activity or even contemplate properly what others are doing? Life ought to be lived more like harmonious music. The pressure of hastening things, of skimming superficially, only destroys that sense of music in life." Paul Caponigro
This Spring Scott Nichols Gallery will be honoring the work of master photographer Paul Caponigro, one of the foremost landscape photographers alive today. This retrospective exhibition will draw from the galleries extensive collection, including three original portfolios published by the artist himself, as well as individual images covering the breadth of work from his entire fifty-year career, from his legendary photographs of sacred sites in England and Ireland to his still life work of plants and sunflowers. Whether made outdoors in nature or in the calm of his studio, Caponigro's work is imbued with a deep sense of quiet contemplation and spiritual awareness.
Born in Boston in 1932, Paul Caponigro was an introspective child. He was exposed to music from an early age by his parents and preferred the New England countryside to time spent in the city, developing an affinity with nature that would fuel his lifelong passion for photography. These loves became intertwined throughout his life and would equally sustain him in his quest to express the illusive and intangible truths of this world.
Whilst doing his tour of duty with the U.S. Army in 1954 Caponigro served several months as photographer and printer at the Presidio 6th Army Headquarters in San Francisco. Here he was fortunate to meet Benjamen Chinn, a photographer who became a life long friend. He not only gave him valuable feedback on a group of his photographs and lent him his view camera but also extended his friendship by introducing him to his circle of friends, photographers of the great tradition of West Coast photography notably Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange and Minor White.
In the late 1950's Caponigro studied with Minor White, a former teacher of Chinn's, whose teachings included the merging of Zen, spirituality and photography. In the early 1960's he became an integral member of the Helios Collective. These experiences were both inspirational and challenging to Caponigro and allowed him to develop his own deeply personal vision. Refining his craft to its higher potential he learned to approach nature receptively, intending, in his own words "to sense an emotional shape or grasp some inner visitation."
Paul Caponigro's first exhibition was at George Eastman House in 1958. Caponigro is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in recognition of his singularly masterful and uncompromising artistry. Numerous monographs have also been published about his work. Caponigro stands apart from the journalistic style, sensationalist color and scale of contemporary work being made today. While photography is never independent from earthly forms, Caponigro sought to understand how the medium could communicate qualities beyond those of physical appearance and thus explore deeper, eternal truths.
"...There is something in me that wants to breathe in harmony with the breathing of the earth, something in me that wishes to attune to that mysterious ocean and which would allow deeper communion and understanding. In being willing to fully commune with what is there, to touch by freeing myself from the insistence of rules and authorities which all too often impose a drone-like formula for living, I can experience something much deeper...like the heartbeat of the earth." Paul Caponigro