Jim Simmons’ Ignoring Content Photo Exhibition

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Photographer and video game producer/designer Jim Simmons presents Ignoring Content, his first New Zealand photography exhibition, at Photospace Gallery. Jim's stunning large format prints as well as his unique stereoscopic (3D) print viewer will be showcased from Friday 7 October through Saturday 22 October.

Jim Simmons studied photography with Ben Lifson and experimental animation with Jules Engel and Pat O'Neill at California Institute of the Arts. Following a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Calarts, Jim spent two years teaching and photographing in his native Arkansas, before returning to Los Angeles to work in the movie visual effects industry. Following graduate studies in fiction screenwriting at Stanford University in California's Silicon Valley, Jim began a 20-year career designing and producing electronic toys and computer/video games for Hasbro, Disney, Electronic Arts, and MGM. Jim Simmon's award-winning projects included Psychic Detective, an interactive movie which screened at the Sundance Film Festival and other festivals in the US and Europe. Jim's other short films have been shown at film festivals in the US, Europe and Australia.

In his artist statement, Jim writes: Content is an almost inescapable aspect of photography, but for this body of work I have opened myself up to the pure and simple delights and pleasures of seeing everything but the content – colour, line, shape, space and quality of light. These are small visual joys – harmonious tableaux – that can be seen everywhere around us if we are open to them and allow ourselves the time to sink into them (…) As I worked to flatten space more and more, I also began to expand space by working with an old Russian stereo camera. The stereo work explores image structure in a different manner from the 2D images, but the seeing comes from a similar frame of mind.

Jim Simmons is one of several New Zealand fine art photographers who uses an analogue large format camera to produce stunningly detailed images. For the uninitiated, large format cameras produce negatives (or slides) which are dozens of times larger than the ubiquitous 35mm format. Therefore, large format photographs are unmatched for their sharpness and visual detail, even when printed very large.

I am honoured that Jim entrusted me with the drum scanning of his film as well as the making of large pigment prints of his photographs on exhibition-quality baryta paper. Due to the unique technology they employ, drum scanners produce the highest quality digital files from photographic film, regardless of the format used (35mm, medium format, large format, panoramic…). No other scanning method can rival drum scans for their sharpness, resolution and dynamic range. Drum scanners are capable of extracting a very wide range of values in a film, from the clearest to the densest; this is one of their key advantages when compared with lower quality scanners. From these very high quality drum scans, prints are made digitally with colour pigments, on batyta paper. These methodologies produce results valued by fine art photographers and artists for they achieve utmost colour fidelity and very high print permanence, making the resulting prints perfect candidates for limited editions and exhibitions.

Photospace Gallery is the only gallery in the Wellington region dedicated to contemporary New Zealand fine art photography and a perfect venue for Jim Simmon's Ignoring Content photo exhibition. And check out the stereoscopic print viewer! Ignoring Content is on from Friday 7 October through Saturday 22 October.

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