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Museums, Galleries & Exhibitions

Shawn Michelle Smith: Light in a Dark Box

Shawn Michelle Smith
Light in a Dark Box

Slemmons Gallery
at Epiphany Center for the Arts

January 6, 2023 to February 18, 2023

For the exhibition Light in a Dark Box, artist Shawn Michelle Smith photographed her parents with the Kodak Brownie Target Six-20, a device that they could have been photographed with in their teenage years. Scanning the medium-format negatives, she then made large inkjet prints in an effort to monumentalize these reflections of light caught in a small dark box.

The Kodak Brownie Target Six-20 was a popular box camera manufactured between 1946 and 1952. It is a very simple device, with a fixed shutter speed and two aperture options, f16 and f22, essentially for “bright” and “very bright” conditions. The camera has a fixed-focus lens that requires subjects to be at a distance of at least eight feet.

Smith was drawn to the camera for its simplicity as well as its popularity. It epitomizes the basic elements of analogue photography – capturing light in a dark box – and it produces the most common photographic form, the snapshot.

Light in a Dark Box is part of an ongoing series of photography exhibitions in Slemmons Gallery in which contemporary photographers use antique cameras from the Rod Slemmons Camera Archive to create new bodies of work. This series is offered in partnership with The Chicago Cluster Project.

RSVP for the opening reception of Shawn Michelle Smith: Light in a Dark Box, Friday, January 6 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the link below:


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