Sean Patrick Hill Opens "Our Innocent Minds" With New Show At LVA

The show opens on Saturday, May 11

Apr 16, 2024 at 11:07 am
Sean Patrick Hill Opens "Our Innocent Minds" With New Show At LVA (2)

Sean Patrick Hill has been taking photographs for a long time. He’s been using large format for the last six years. In a conversation with LEO, Hill explains what large format photography means, the name of his show and what we can expect when we attend his opening at LVA (1538 Lytle St.) on Saturday, May 11. His show is curated by fellow artist Rebecca Norton. Hill is planning an artist talk to accompany the show at a later date.

LEO: How long have you prepped for this show?

Sean Patrick Hill: The LVA show spans work I've done from 2018-2023, dating to when I got my first 4x5 large format camera. I've been directly prepping for the show for a few months. I should note it's being curated by Rebecca Norton—she deserves credit!

Is there a thematic thread through the show?

The thematic thread is landscape photography, often done in what's called "non-representational," which is to say, abstract photography. Most prints, twelve of them, are black-and-white gelatin silver prints done in my darkroom, and four are color, done on both negative and positive film and printed locally.

Is there a name for the show?

The name of the show is "Our Innocent Minds," which is a translation of a comment by photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto on how his own landscape photography (the Seascape series) where he speaks about his desire that viewers be able to look at nature with an uncluttered mind, where nothing human is present so they can see nature as if for the first time, as our ancestors would have. My general question is, "What are we missing in our hurry? How does it affect our understanding of where we are?" (Which is the question of my Buffalo Trace piece too, by the way.) Read more about the Buffalo Trace in the upcoming Derby Issue.

Explain a bit about large format photography

Large-format refers to the size of the film, which is 4x5 for me, meaning the film is four-by-five inches. The reason one would shoot this is because the DETAIL on that size film is extraordinary.

By comparison, medium-format (and some images in the show are medium) is taken on 120 roll film, which with my gear makes a negative that is either 6x7 or 6x9 centimeters. That still offers great detail. Small format today is the 35mm camera, the classic SLR's of the 60's-70's (and onward), which is 135 film, the negative reduced to around 2x3 centimeters. It's the difference between a postage-stamp sized negative and something 15x that size.

Large format uses the view camera, the classic big camera with the bellows that Ansel Adams et al used. There's too much to say about that here! Mine is currently a Sinar F2, a "rail camera," which is a view camera mounted on a rail (as opposed to the classic wooden field cameras, mine is more of a studio camera that I take outdoors). My medium format is a Pentax 6x7, a very heavy piece of equipment.

This show will be Hill’s second solo show. His first was as artist-in-residence at The Bascom Center for Visual Arts in the Highlands, North Carolina. This show comes before Hill leaves for a residency in Sweden at Nordingrå Konstby residency which is being funded by Great Meadows Foundation.