Published: September 18, 2015
Arts and Life Correspondent
Lisa Hinkle’s photography exhibit “(Im)Perfect Specimen” currently adorns the walls of Hope Horn Gallery in Hyland Hall.
Running from Sept. 14 through Oct. 9, Hinkle’s collection includes 30 photographs. Each piece ranges from photos that were digitally taken, to photos made by placing objects on a scanner, creating a scanned photo.
The majority of Hinkle’s collection is made up of scanned photographs. Of the 30 photos, 24 of them were made using a scanner. In a statement Hinkle released to the Hope Horn Gallery, Hinkle said she uses the scanner to create a certain stylistic element, such as the essence of a worn and peeling image on an ancient wall – embodying the feel of a Dutch Master’s painting.
According to Hinkle’s statement, “The images here are mostly scanned objects because I enjoy the fine detail rendered and the challenge of seeing what I can fit in an 8 ½ x 11 space. Those that are too big or heavy or need particular lighting effects are digitally photographed.”
Many of Hinkle’s photos include items found in nature, such as butterflies, shells, flowers, birds, etc. Some of her photos also include clocks, fading items and glass. All those seemingly random objects, however, have place and meaning in Hinkle’s photographs, according to Hinkle’s statement.
“I spend a great deal of time looking at the ground. And my collection of specimens is well, imperfect. In fact, I refer to them as ‘My little pieces of junk.’ The nests constantly lose pieces of grass or twigs.
My butterflies and feathers are battered and crumbling at times, the stones are not classified in neat little boxes and I have a proclivity for picking up little bits of string and broken glass.”
Darlene Miller-Lanning, Ph.D., gallery director and art history professor at The University, offered insight about common themes in Hinkle’s photographs.
Miller-Lanning said that the imagery shown in Hinkle’s photographs includes images of death, rebirth, transformation and the passing of time. A photograph called “Master of Time (Ruby-Throated Hummingbird & Jewelweed)” flirts with a theme called memento mori – which is the “remembrance of mortality.” The photograph features a pocket-watch, as well as an infinity sign.
Many of the photographs also feature butterflies, playing with the theme of transformation on to something bigger than what it once was. In a photograph titled “After Eden (Apple & Snakeskin),” Hinkle scans an apple, a branch, snakeskin and string onto a photo, overall capturing the essence of transformation and gaining experience.
“A snake sheds its skin right when it has outgrown something, so perhaps it transformed again and went on to be something bigger and hopefully better than it once was,” Miller-Lanning said.
The overall title of the exhibit (Im) Perfect Specimen conveys different things to different people.
“I think the idea is that in life, there’s a lot made in the idea that perfect is beautiful, and that if you do something perfectly, that’s the best thing – the good thing. A lot of things in life, I think, get meaning from being imperfect. So an imperfect specimen may be the one that has more meaning behind it, or more experience than the one that’s brand new and shiny. Imperfection is not a bad thing, imperfection can be a good thing.” Miller-Lanning said.
In her statement, Hinkle defines the meaning of (Im)Perfect Specimen to her.
“Everything in the photographs, whether tattered, rusted or pristine has some spirit within the shall, which, while invisible, still shines from within and is beautifu,” Hinkle said.
“To me, they are perfect. While beauty is fleeting, as they say, I try to preserve it, give it a little more time, even if it is printed on one of the most temporary of materials, paper.”
Hinkle will be giving a lecture about her exhibit here from 5 to 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Pearn Auditorium in Brennan Hall,