All photographs shot by and used with permission from Barry Underwood.
Cleveland-based photographer and light installation artist Barry Underwood, whose work takes focus on the examination of the use of land in both rural and urban areas, is well-versed in the power of film; and he’s using that power to his advantage to document his amazing art installations.
These long-exposure photographs (or visual representations of his “dialogues”, as he calls them, between him and nature and history), of course, are products of much bigger projects that not only take time to plan and execute, but also last several hours after their images are painted on film. As Barry himself explains,
“The photographic images are long exposure documentations of full-scale installations built on-site in specific landscapes. With my work, I actually do build a structure, or object, or an installation. My process begins with drawing. Most of the installations only exist from a few hours to one night. I have been working on projects where the installation is up for several weeks. Most projects are installed in one day, though some can take several days. Again, most of the installations are actual structures, not moving lights, or light trails. Though they do at times mimic light trails. Almost every installation or sculpture has a support structure just off frame. Rope in the trees, an armature, and such.
The photographic images are made using long exposures; one or more hours. Because they are long exposures, I use film for photographing. I then have the film scanned. I try to treat the image in Photoshop similar to how I would print in the darkroom process: adjusting color balance, dodge/burn, crop…In fact the early work in the series was first printed in the darkroom with no digital process.”
These long exposures may only be fractions of his undoubtedly beautiful full-scale light installations, but they are themselves artworks in their own right. Stunning, surreal, and radiant, they are true examples of long exposures AND film photography done right.