Jane Paradise, September 6th, 2019, Opening Reception, Galatea Fine Art
Classic Provincetown: Photographs of Provincetown and the Province Lands
Written By Barbara Lindstrom
Boston, MA. Paradise has an insatiable curiosity about people. A Provincetown-based photographic artist, Paradise works with digital cameras, capturing the intimate connections between people and environments, whether momentary or lifelong. She works on long-term series of work that reflect an immersion in communities and people’s lives. Irrespective of where she is – places abroad where she once lived, at home in the US or traveling around the world – she finds the gesture and singular moment that also tells a universal story.
In 2007, she started a photographic series portraying “the oldest old” of the women in her own family after meeting the late Norma Holt, a noted New York/Provincetown photographer. This chance encounter led to a friendship and a long-term series of photographs portraying Holt’s relationship to aging entitled When I Was Young, I Was Considered Beautiful. This guided Paradise to bring her camera’s unflinching yet compassionate eye into the lives of three other women, revealing the dignity and beauty manifested in lives that remain, for too many people, largely invisible. Most images are created in one size, printed on archival pigment paper with a classic darkroom technique. Paradise’s work harkens back to early documentary photography, and she counts the influence of Magnum’s master documentary photographers Constantine Manos and Alex Web, as giving formative and active guidance. She is also represented by the Alden Gallery in Provincetown.
Jane Paradise, The OC, photograph, 18 x 24
Classic Provincetown: Photographs of Provincetown and the Province Lands is an intimate visual conversation within the Provincetown community. Paradise describes the town as “a jarring combination of natural beauty and thriving commercial enterprise… . Parts are so pristine that your eyes hurt with the raw beauty, but in summer it is sometimes so crazy with throngs of people that one can get lost and life can slip by quicker than sand in an hourglass. Two irreconcilable sides where the human and natural landscapes mingle to tell a unique story.” Each of the show’s images touches a cord at once familiar and compelling. Each photo offers an invitation into a private singular landscape within the community.
Jane Paradise, Edwige, photograph, 24 x 18
There is a strong graphic design element in Paradise’s work. Within the frame of her photographic images one finds an elongated staircase, a clutch of rectangular mirrors and lights, and a store front view that imbeds the person in their everyday environment. We are drawn to an intimate gesture, unnoticed if not for Paradise. Other photographs of the landscape tell a story of the constant wear and the changes brought about by the action of wind and waves, as well as the human activities – all contained on this slender peninsula surrounded by water in every direction except due east. There is an appreciation of being insular, even singular. The town has 21.3 miles of coastal shoreline. For year-round residents like Paradise, the occasion for close relationships may stem from the recognition of being surrounded by the natural elements that frame Provincetown. Perhaps this moves Paradise to celebrate the simpler and more intimate pathways of life.
Paradise’s story telling, profound in its simplicity and depth, is marked with authenticity and compassion. She doesn’t impose a narrative, but rather allows character and a sense of place to emerge. Witnessing such respect and the photos’ simple clarity in her Galatea show feels like a privilege.
Jane Paradise, Classic Provincetown: Photographs of Provincetown and the Province Lands runs until September 29, 2019. Visit Galatea Fine Art at 460B Harrison Ave., #B-6, Boston, MA 02118. 617-542-1500. Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-5pm and by appointment.
Please join us for an Artist Talk on September 21 – 3pm, at Galatea Fine Art with artist members Barbara Eskin, Jane Paradise and Crystal Woodward.