He uses chemical toning in much of the new photographs, introducing soft warm and cool tones, as well as more jarring reddish pinks, deep blues, and muddy brown-golds. His brush strokes with the toners make several of the pieces feel more like one-of-a-kind paintings rather than straight photographs. He’s also shuffling between film formats (4x5 Polaroid, 8x10 negative, 35 mm, and medium format box camera) to achieve some surprising effects. For instance, he deliberately creates very soft images with a narrow tonal range when he uses the large 8 x 10 camera that is quite capable of delivering tack-sharp prints.
As always with Cowen's work, scale plays an important role in the visual impact of his pieces — and many of these are printed (much) larger than life. If you have the opportunity, go see these prints in person. The gallery also published an excellent catalog.
— Jim Casper
Jeff Cowen: Attacus Atlas
25 September – 31 October 2009
Seine 51, 51 Rue de Seine, Paris 6th
by Jeff Cowen
Published by Seine 51