Thursday, December 10, 1998
From the earliest daguerrotype portraits to the new frontiers in digital imaging, technology has often been a driving force in prodding and shaping the photographer/artist''s vision. In turn, it has been the artist''s search to broaden the artistic capabilities of the photographic medium that has led to many of the breakthroughs in the technology of photography.
More than any other art form, it is this inextricably linked dynamic between technology and artistic vision that makes photography the quintessential, 20th-century medium of artistic expression.
Ironically, it was this search to find a new means of personal expression that led local photographer Steve Shapiro to search out one of this century''s earliest and most amazing breakthroughs in photo technology, the Cirkut panorama camera.
"These are old methods using modern materials, and the average photographer [looks at this camera] and goes ''Oh my God!''" says Shapiro in regard to the Cirkut camera''s massive, unwieldy-looking appearance.
"There is no bracketing with this camera, and it must be second nature before you get into this baby," Shapiro adds with a laugh.
The Cirkut camera used by Shapiro and a very select group of other photographers around the country is essentially a large-format, 8x10 view camera specially modified to incorporate a motor-driven, panorama film back. It uses a motorized tripod mount to produce images with anywhere from a five- to 720-degree angle of view.
Although panorama photography dates back to the early 1840s, the Cirkut camera was only in production from around 1904 to 1945. According to Shapiro, only about 700 of these cameras are still in existence, with about 60 photographers using the camera professionally. Shapiro''s camera was built in 1915.
As the film is slowly wound through the Cirkut camera, a lever opens the shutter at the film slit, thereby exposing the film continuously as it passes over the slit. The shutter actually stays open for the duration of the photograph, with the speed of the film movement passing the film slit and determining the film exposure. Simultaneously, and in synchronization with the film, the camera itself rotates by a spring motor on the tripod giving a single, continuously exposed image.
"It''s like running up and pushing the paper up against the scenery," explains Shapiro. "The image sticks to the paper like glue."
The results are stunning, jaw-dropping images that come closer than any other format to capturing the scope and grandeur of the natural landscape, or any other scene that would normally tax the limits of traditional camera formats.
"The camera has gone beyond my expectations," comments Shapiro, who has only been working with the camera for a little over a month, and admits to having spent many hours working out the Cirkut camera''s particular idiosyncracies. "There is a definite learning process with the camera, but the clarity is marvelous and the colors are well saturated."
Shapiro just completed a commissioned work for The Barnyard with the Cirkut camera and has taken several landscape photographs scheduled to go on display at the Unique of Carmel gallery this weekend. Having just published Carmel--A Timeless Place, a photo book highlighting the architectural treasures of Carmel using a 35mm camera, Shapiro is now embarked on a new book project to photograph the west coast of North America from Carmel up to Vancouver, British Columbia using the panorama format.
"My first rule of photography is to ask yourself, ''What is this a picture of?''" explains Shapiro of his search for subject matter. "I''m stunned by what to take pictures of, and bored with great vista shots. There''s not much out there that''s expansive with the unity of purpose [that I find] as significant. It''s not worth taking a picture if it''s ordinary.
"These photographs represent the total summation of all my photographic knowledge," adds Shapiro. "They fall between art and historic documentation, and to own a [Cirkut panorama photograph] is to own significant memorabilia."
Shapiro will be taking a commissioned, panorama image for Morgan''s Coffee&Tea on Saturday, Dec. 12 at approximately 10am. Anyone interested in watching Shapiro and the Cirkut camera in action, or posing in the photograph, is welcome.Art Opening
Henry Miller Library "Winter Art Show." The sixth annual "Winter Art Show" features the works of more than 40 Big Sur artists. Highway 1, Big Sur. 667-2574. Reception: 12/12, 1pm. Through: 1/31/99.
Monterey Marriott An auction of fine art (including prints, etchings and paintings by old and modern masters) benefits the Children''s Miracle Network. 350 Calle Principal, Monterey. 1-800-521-9654. Reception: 12/10, 6:30pm.
Monterey Peninsula Airport "Altered States: Transforming the Spirit of Castoff Materials." Works by local artists who have created unusual works from everyday objects. Also, "Angels of Tradition," Santa Catalina Lower School students present their version of Monterey''s Christmas angels. 200 Fred Kane Dr., Monterey. 624-7910. Reception: 12/11, 5pm. Through: 3/31.
Seaside City Hall Works by Alison Cloran, Betty Rees and the Carmel Crafts Guild. 440 Harcourt Ave., Seaside. 899-6270. Reception: 12/11, 7pm. Through: 12/31.
Ansel Adams Gallery "Chip Hooper: Photographs." Black-and-white photographs that "capture and liberate the dynamic and subtle interplay of light and form in our natural world" by local photographer. The Inn at Spanish Bay, 2700 17 Mile Dr., Pebble Beach. 375-7215. Through: 12/15.
Buena Vista Branch Library "Guiding With Courage: Personal Heroes." Photographs by Kira Carillo Corser illustrate essays by MoCo children about their personal heroes. 1852 Lara Dr., Salinas. 459-9699. Through: 12/31.
Carl Cherry Center "Shadows." Metaphysical and introspective paintings and drawings by Anita Benson exploring shadows and configurations in nature. 4th Avenue and Guadalupe Street, Carmel. 624-7491. Through: 12/11.
Carmel Art Association "Happiness Is:" Works by local professional artists. Dolores Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 624-6176. Through: 1/7/99.
Carmel Valley Manor "Museum Posters." Posters from the collection of Jules Trattner. 8545 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. 626-4711. Through: 12/31.
Galeria Tonantzin "Images of the Virgin." Exhibit and conference. Ongoing art exhibit exploring images of the Virgin Mary from contemporary views, plus a three-day conference of authors and artists studying aspects of the Virgin. Speakers include Lucia Birnbaum, Elinor Gadon, China Galland, Yolanda Lopez, and more. Free art reception Dec. 12, 5pm. A performance of "La Virgen de Tepeyac" by El Teatro Campesino takes place Saturday at 8pm, and there''s a poetry reading Sunday at the San Juan Bautista Mission. 115 3rd St., San Juan Bautista. $60-100/conference. 623-ARTE.
Gray''s Art Gallery "Accent on Angels." Group exhibit. $1 admission for reception. 1104 Broadway Ave., Suite K, Seaside. 899-1069. Reception: 12/19, 4pm. Through: 1/3.
Grove Homescapes "Du Temps Perdu." Hand-colored black-and-white photographs of Paris by Meredith Mullins. 472 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 647-1719. Through: 1/31/99.
Monterey College of Law An exhibit of photography and printmaking by Lesley Anne Spowart. 404 W. Franklin St, Monterey. 373-3301. Through: 12/30.
Monterey Museum of Art "Winterfest: A Multi-Cultural Celebration." Works that "focus on the artistry of a Victoran Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Pueblo Indian and Mexican celebrations." Demonstrations of holiday rituals are presented 12/19, 1-3:30pm. Also, "Artists'' Miniatures 1998," works by more than 100 local artists. On 1/4/99, works will be raffled off to art lovers who buy $3 tickets. "Storybook Illustrations," works by Laura Regan, who will give a talk on 12/12 at 10:30am. 599 Pacific St., Monterey. 372-5477. Through: 1/3/99.
Monterey Museum of Art--La Mirada "Face to Face: The Paintings of Mabel Alvarez." 720 Via Mirada, Monterey. 372-3689, 372-5477. Through: 3/7/99.
Monterey Regional Waste District Office "Recycled Art Festival." Award-winning projects made from recycled materials, ranging from sculpture to art pieces by Michael Duffy, Steve Gaily, Dick Iverson, Ed Leiper, Paola Berthoin, and others. 14201 Del Monte Blvd., Marina. 384-5313. Through: 12/20.
Morgans'' Coffee & Tea "Endangered Species." Color portrait photography by Pomyol Arce of the Sahara Desert nomads. 498 Washington St., Monterey.
MPC Art Gallery "By Special Invitation." A variety of artwork, from photography to found-object sculptures, by Monterey County high school students. 980 Fremont St, Monterey. 646-3060. Through: 12/11.
Mudzimu Gallery Sculptures by Gedion Nyanhongo, from Zimbabwe. 6th Avenue, between Lincoln and Dolores streets, Carmel. 626-2946. Through: 12/20.
National Steinbeck Center "El Arte De Mexico: Tres Aspectos de Tradicion." Paintings by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco related to The Virgin of Guadalupe. 1 Main St., Salinas. 753-6411. Through: 1/10/99.
Nico Restaurant Oil paintings by Gabriel Murray whose paintings "convey striking images of post-modern society." San Carlos Street, between Ocean and 7th avenues, Carmel. 659-5159. Through: 12/21.
Pacific Grove Art Center Works by Julie Smith''s art students; paintings by Manel Santana; ceramics by Dianna Holubec; jewelry by Ling Yen-Jones; "Christmas Stocking Event." 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208. Through: 1/8/99.
Searle Art Supplies Paintings by students of Robynn Smith''s MPC class; holiday ceramics from MPC''s Mud People. 639 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 373-0126. Through: 12/31.
Shallcross Gallery "Works on Paper." A variety of works on paper by California artists Carolyn Berry, Mira Kamada, Antonella Brughera, Gloria Shaw and Marjorie Faris. Visitors enter to win a lithograph by Mira Kamada. 499 Calle Principal, Monterey. 655-0642. Through: 12/30.
Spa on the Plaza "Big Sur Florals." Watercolors by Big Sur artist Helen Jerene Morton. 201 Alvarado St., Monterey. 647-9000. Through: 2/1/99.
Thunderbird Bookstore Color photography of landscapes and seascapes by David J. Gubernick. In The Barnyard Shopping Center, off Highway 1 and Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. 624-1803. Through: 12/10.
Venture Gallery "Holiday Miniature Show." Miniature works in many media by local artists. 260 Alvarado Mall, at the Doubletree Hotel, Monterey. 372-6279. Through: 1/4/99.
Weston Gallery "Devotion." New works by local artist Jeffrey Becom. Lincoln Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. 624-4453. Through: 12/23.
White Oak Grill "Day''s End." Color photography of sunset images by David J. Gubernick. 19 East Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. 659-7632. Through: 12/31.
Little Angels Rest and Angels in Flight Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2:30pm. Drama. After a ten-year hiatus, The Staff Players Repertory Company joins Children''s Experimental Theater in a revival of what used to be their annual holiday production, two plays written by founder and artistic director Marcia Gambrell Hovick. The stage is set in the dark underside of Victorian England, a world of desperately poor children combing the streets for food and shelter, whose misery is alleviated by a vision of hope and wonder. Magical dolls, time travel and a cast of SPRC regulars bring Hovick''s plays to life. Recommended for all ages. Indoor Forest Theater, Mountain View and Santa Rita, Carmel. 624-1531. $12/general; $9/children; $9/seniors. Through: 12/20.
A Christmas Carol Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm and 7pm. Drama. Unicorn Theater takes on Scrooge and all the ghosts of Christmas in this classic Dickens tale of meanness redeemed. This is Robert Colter''s tenth year as Scrooge, and he is a pleasure to watch as he takes the old sourpuss through a roller-coaster emotional ride. Children in particular will enjoy this ensemble production. Hoffman Street Playhouse, Hoffman Street at Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey. 649-0259. $15/general; $8/children; $12/seniors. Through: 12/23.
Annual Olio Revue Friday and Saturday, 8pm. Musical Revue. The First Theater''s Troupers of the Gold Coast celebrate the holiday season with their annual olio revue, an evening of their favorite, silliest vaudeville-style sketches and comic songs from the turn-of-the century to today. California''s First Theater, Scott and Pacific streets, Monterey. 375-4916. $10/general; $5/children; $8/seniors. Through: 1/31/99.
Goin'' Hollywood Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. Musical. In a salute to the Golden Age of Hollywood, director Jerry DeBono has penned this tribute to some of the greatest stars of...well, that golden age. Local actors impersonate film greats such as Mae West, Abbott and Costello, Marilyn Monroe, the Marx Brothers, Gerta Garbo, Carmen Miranda, Lauren Bacall, Laurel and Hardy and many more, in song and comic vignettes. Special benefit performance for Youth Music Monterey Dec. 10, at $15 and $10 (students with ID). Main Stage, Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. 646-4213. $15/general; $7/children; $11/seniors. Through: 12/20.
La Virgen Del Tepeyac Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8pm; Sunday 4pm and 8pm; special free dawn show, Saturday at 6am. Pageant. The historic San Juan Bautista Mission explodes in an extravaganza of music, dance and theater every other Christmas in Luis Valdez''s adaptation of the beloved Mexican story of Our Lady of Guadalupe. San Juan Bautista Mission basilica, Second and Mariposa streets, San Juan Bautista. 623-2444. $17/general; $8/children; $14/seniors. Through: 12/20.
Taking Care Monday and Tuesday at 7:30pm. Drama. The Staff Players Repertory Company will hold auditions for "Taking Care," an original script by Philip Pearce, described as humorous and touching. Needed are four older adults, two brothers, their mother, and a young man. Indoor Forest Theater, Mountain View and Santa Rita streets, Carmel. 624-1531.