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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on March 22nd, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 3 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 3

Photographer Jeffrey Bloom's new exhibit features haunting shadows

By REBECCA ROSE

A distorted shadow encased in an icy blue field hangs on the screen for a moment, then dissolves into a jagged image, where the shadow of a man is barely identifiable between two dark lines.

The shadow belongs to Jeffrey Bloom, artist, photographer, and filmmaker, whose work is featured in a new exhibit at the C Gallery in Los Alamos.


FROZEN DARKNESS
Jeffrey Bloom’s exhibit, Shadows of My Former Self, features images of the artist’s shadow manipulated in Photoshop. The exhibit is now on display in Los Alamos.
IMAGE COURTESY OF JEFFREY BLOOM

“I started shooting stills a long time ago, back in the ancient days of film cameras,” Bloom said. “I’ve always enjoyed shooting stills.”

Then Hollywood came calling and Bloom launched a successful movie and television career, working in the industry for 30 years. His career even included a stint working on the celebrated television drama Columbo and directing the film adaptation of V.C. Andrews’ book Flowers in the Attic, starring Louise Fletcher.

“When I left that, everything had changed,” he said. “Everything was digital. I didn’t have familiarity with it. I remembered how much I like taking pictures and remembered I was good at it.”

Pretty soon, people started noticing Bloom’s work and he picked up steady gigs shooting weddings and more. By 2012 he and his wife Carole packed up and left the bright lights of Los Angeles for the quiet hills of Los Alamos, motivated by a familiar face in the community. Bob Oswaks, owner of Bob’s Well Bread, is a friend of Bloom’s.

Bloom and his wife quickly knew they wanted to make the town their new home.

“After 10 days, I completely feel in love with the town,” he said.


MASTER MANIPULATOR
C Gallery owner Connie Rohde said that while some dispute the categorizing of Photoshop work as fine art, she sees the digital editing process as pure artistry.
IMAGE COURTESY OF JEFFREY BLOOM

He began to dive deeply into his photography in their new community.

“I started shooting pictures of everybody on the street, strangers,” Bloom said. “They were so eclectic. Faces impress me. This is such a varied community.”

He added, “How did all these incredible people end up in this town?”  

Bloom said he would print the pictures out and find the people to give them their photos. The project evolved into a coffee table book, Characters.

“It started out as 250 pages, now it’s up to about 400 and it’s on the 12th edition,” he said. “I don’t sell it for any profit. When you flip through the pages, you see the same thing that I saw.”

Bloom’s new show at the C Gallery is titled Shadows of My Former Self and features still photographs of his own shadows, manipulated through Photoshop.  

“It was an accident like a lot of art is,” he said. “I was always fascinated by shadows like a lot of artists and photographers are.”

He shot his own shadow against the backgrounds of various landscapes and took the image into Photoshop, experimenting with different filters and effects.


ACCIDENTAL DISCOVERY
Jeffrey Bloom said he created the first images that would later become his collection Shadows of My Former Self, by accident, through a fascination with shadows and light. Bloom’s exhibit at the C Gallery runs through April 12.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFFREY BLOOM

“It would get it to a point and I would call it a day,” Bloom said “I did the same things with other images.  But if you ask me now how to re-create that same image, I would have no idea. I just kept doing things to the photo.”

He said the process was similar to an artist adding paint to canvas. He compared it to what Jackson Pollock would do in creating his famous drip paintings.

“It’s virtually impossible to re-create,” Bloom said. “It’s a one off. I feel that way about art. I don’t take it too seriously. I just react to it emotionally, I’m not very analytical about it.”

He has completed more than 670 images stored on his computer. He used 57 of them for a 5-minute video, available on YouTube.

“It’s very evocative,” Bloom said. “All it is, is one picture dissolving into another. It’s very emotional. I’m not recognizable, I’m just a shape.”

Connie Rohde, owner of the C Gallery, said Bloom approached her to ask if people would be interested in seeing his shadow work.

Rhode said there is an ongoing dialogue in the fine art community about calling manipulated computer images art. Rohde said the decisions made about changing the textures, distortion, color, and other aspects of a digital image are the artistic process.

“He takes something as safe as a shadow and manipulates it as fine art,” she said. “That’s art.”

See for yourself
Jeffrey Bloom’s photography exhibit, Shadows of My Former Self, shows through April 12. A Soup Bread Fire Art Talk event is scheduled for April 1 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., featuring talks by Bloom and Morlan. The C Gallery is located at 466 Bell St., Los Alamos. For more information, visit www.thecgallery.com.

Rohde said opportunities to showcase artists like Bloom and introduce them to the community through events like the gallery’s Soup Bread Fire Art Talk events are important to preserve the arts.

“The arts have been marginalized,” she said. “Art is at the center of expression. It’s the center of spiritual worship. It’s embedded into all parts of our life. Soup night helps bring art dialogue to the community.”

She added, “I want to take the barrier down that says art for the elite and educated. That’s not true.”

All of Bloom’s photos at the gallery are on sale, priced between $150 and $250.

The C Gallery is also featuring sculptor Eric Morlan, who hails from Lompoc. Morlan creates abstract works in metal on pedestals; his collection featured at the C Gallery is titled Small Works Thinking Big.

Rebecca Rose absolutely worships Louise Fletcher. Contact her at rrose@santamariasun.com.




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