5/8/10 11:03 AM
Donkeys, a pony, rusting farm implements and a boy in a tank top and shorts—these are the subjects that appear one by one in the photographs of Kellie M. Hamilton. The donkeys and pony munch and trot in a dreamy, pastoral black-and-white haze. The oxidizing nuts, bolts and wheels sit in all their gorgeous browns, oranges and turquoises, crowded into close-ups that make of them more pattern and decoration than still life. The young man gazes knowingly down at the photographer, one knee bent, arms tucked back, shoulders up, a look of sweet and slightly unsure toughness on his face. Three different styles in one body of work—what to make of that? That it is like life, and that the life represented in this series of photographs is the one lived by the photographer herself, who is obviously not just a photographer but also very much a mother, farmer and animal husbandman. Hamilton may or may not have set out to create a body of work that depicts the beauty she finds in her own day-to-day existence, but that is the inevitable outcome when one picks up a camera and tries to fit its picture-making functions into an already full life. Best would be to take that strength into account when displaying the work, presenting it a dense salon-style hanging so that the contrasts and comparisons of a life richly lived can all be seen together, as they vitalize and complement one another.