An exhibition of unique images that isolate forms from nature and incorporate human shapes or details within will be held at Santa Monica College later this month.
The “Natura humana” exhibit, featuring photos by Steve Engelmann, will run Oct. 20 to Nov. 21 in SMC’s photography gallery, located on the second floor of Drescher Hall on the main SMC campus, 1900 Pico Blvd.
The opening reception is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. Gallery hours are noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call 310.434.4289.
Engelmann, an environmental science teacher at Palisades Charter High School who got his bachelor’s degree in marine biology from UCLA, has been taking photos since childhood but started taking photography classes at SMC in 2004. His work has been included in seven student photo shows at SMC and, in the spring of 2011, his images were part of “Emerging (i) 6” at the Creative Center for Photography in Hollywood. Last October, his work was in a group show at The Happening Gallery in Marina del Rey.
“In Natura humana, I combine multiple negatives in a traditional darkroom,” he said. “I begin with positive and negative space as a spin-off of common psychological assessments on perception. I isolate a form from nature and incorporate a human shape or detail within. Each image has a complement with either a positive or negative background. The duality of these pairings emphasizes the struggle to find a new equilibrium.”
Engelmann, a Pacific Palisdades resident, says he is “exploring our senses as our connection to natural elements. Nature feeds us, quenches us, nurtures us, heals and soothes us, and yet we increasingly insulate ourselves from our environment. What does ‘natural’ mean to our mind and senses today, as they are continually altered by new technologies and the built environment? I am fascinated by our changing perceptions, subconscious contradictions and the conflicts that ensue.”