Reviewing a friend’s photo-archive is like walking through his closet or checking out his garage. I found it startling at first, and humbling as I proceeded, to realize that much of what I encountered on my unaccompanied tour was never intended for public viewing. All the image trails between the beginning of an idea and its fruition, all the dead ends and blind alleys, all the cognitive detritus of a vivid imagination, laid bare. Wow! And I get to choose? Well, in this case, yes.
With an apologetic nod towards Bryn, I will tell you this is deliberately not a “best of Bryn’s work” show, which is not to say I don’t think these are excellent pieces. Rather, I found myself responding to otherwise hidden elements in the portfolio that for me informed much of Bryn’s better known work. For example I selected a series of almost primitive though stunning images, in my mind entitled “The last thing I remember . . . “, which are simply of waves, but from underneath (I shouldn’t say simple in that they must have been hellish to acquire). Bryn is highly regarded for his elegant and masterful waterscapes, including many beautiful wave images. But in my tour of the archive I discovered the visual evidence that his esthetic sensibility is aware of both nature’s grandeur as well as its power, its inherent neutrality, even its potential threat. Somehow, for me, this insight made his ethereal wave images even more resonant.
I also found myself selecting images for strictly personal reasons. Having acknowledged this, it becomes apparent that the show really has three subjects. Of course the first two are the sets of images presented for each photographer. But embedded in that presentation is a relationship, and it is the outflow of that interface, that set of interactions, that is also on display. Another illustration. By training, Bryn is an engineer and I am a physician whose undergrad degree is in biophysics. Yes, we are both geeks (and proudly so). To me, his architectural images are (of all things) similar to his wave images in that they remind me of an oscilloscope. Whether those waves are sinusoidal, or triangular, or square, they are moving, dynamic. I find his urban landscape photographs to be as organic and alive as those of water or of nature in a broader sense. Similarly, I selected several of his photographs from CERN, which on the surface may seem technical and sterile, and yet, when I ponder what they represent and how artfully they are presented, I find them awe-inspiring.
Last, I chose a number of images that to me are like standing downstream of a mind at play. There is no accounting for whimsy, for dreaming, for visual introspection. And there needn’t be. Sometimes I think such images might be the most accurate self-portraits possible. Perhaps one of them is included here . . .