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THE BUZZ: Drawn to Light: Investigating the psychology of ‘place’ and our relationship to it.


Drawn to Light

Article by Cathy Breslaw

Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CA

It is a particular sensitivity to ‘place’ and ‘light’ that unites the work of Anthony Friedkin, Steve Kahn and Grant Mudford in their current show together at Joseph Bellows Gallery. The images of these Los Angeles based photographers elicit an emotional response whether it be the Pacific Ocean waves in Friedkin’s images, the long dark shadowy corridors of old apartment buildings in Kahn’s images or the stark sharpness and contrasting light used in the urban landscape images of Grant Mudford. Friedkin’s wave images are often abstractions that speak to the structure and textures of waves portraying their power and force as they move toward shore. There is an intimacy, and a personal knowledge present in these images that only someone who surfs or spends a lot of time in the ocean could capture. The beauty of the waves are further enhanced by these images being in black and white, allowing the ‘light’ to glisten and create form as the waves take center stage.

The subject matter of Steve Kahn’s images – that of dark corridors in an old building wouldn’t normally grab attention, but Kahn has built a quiet mysterious beauty into his photographs. Observers are drawn to his sense of deep space using only one-point perspective, as well as his obvious keen familiarity and personal connection to these hallways. Studying the light, focusing on the textures of the walls, ceiling lights, doorways, carpets and floor patterns has added to the development of these images. In this ‘Corridor Series’, Kahn sets up a formal composition strictly adhered to in all the images. This use of formal composition is also evident in the work of Grant Mudford. His outdoor anonymous black and white urban landscapes of buildings find identity and personal meaning by drawing attention to a connection to patterns in architectural forms, adjacent greenery and sometimes names or words on buildings. ‘Drawn to Light’ brings together three California photographers who investigate the psychology of ‘place’ and our relationship to it.

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