"Cincinnati, OH (2014)"
July 06, 2018
David Hanlon, a photographer, teacher and author, considers teaching to be his most important work. But let's talk about his photography.
In Hanlon's ongoing photographic series, he focuses on a given place or theme over a long period of time, such as Cahokia, Syria, Homes, and Interiors.
Hanlon, who has worked as an archeological photographer in Syria, knows that photos can be an essential tool of documentation. When archeologists cannot remove objects from their country of origin, photographs like Hanlon's allow further study off-site, bringing present again all those physical details that could give insight into the past.
However, photography can also capture the metaphysical. Hanlon is careful to distinguish a photograph's subject from its content. He's interested in capturing and communicating the mood of a place and the details allow insight of another sort.
In Interiors, Hanlon shoots lobbies, hotel rooms, restaurants, etc., across the country. The titles, like "New York City (2016)" or "Memphis, TN (2011)" simply state a location and year. In each photo, we look at some portion of a room – usually spare and without people – and a sense of quiet and calm emerges.
However this sense is fraught with a subtle tension that's hard to describe. It feels brief, like the silent moment between the knocking on a door and a person's answer. Take "Cincinnati, OH (2014)," for example. We look into a modest and perfectly ordinary kitchen. Everything is in order except perhaps an unfinished glass of milk that will go rancid unless someone rinses it down the sink or drinks it. Interiors carries double meaning. One points to the familiar spaces that we share with one another, the other points to our private thoughts.
Hanlon will judge Kirkwood's Architecture in Focus photo competition this year. The deadline for submissions is July 31. To participate and learn more, go to https://youjudgeit.org/kirkwoodartsfoundation or send an inquiry to Kirkwood Arts Commissioner Jim Erwin at email@example.com. To see Hanlon's body of work, visit www.DavidHanlonPhoto.org.