Bijan Yashar


From its inception, photography has had an ongoing dialogue with painting, and the two have shaped one another in notable ways. For the ongoing series Illuminated I have been visiting painting collections at various museums and seeing these works as they appear through a camera. Glare on reflective surfaces is usually an annoyance for photographers, but in this series instead of avoiding or minimizing glare I embrace it. 

Photographed at just the right angle, the same gallery lights that normally illuminate a painting create bright areas on the surface of the canvas and obliterate parts of the image, usually the figure(s). A new image is formed through this iconoclastic gesture, one that is often ghostly but grounded in the materiality of canvas, pigment, varnish and the patina of time. No flash or additional lighting is used in this work. 



These found photographs of real estate listings on Catalina Island, which I re-photographed and enlarged, have deteriorated over time through sun exposure, resulting in the emulsion's cracked, peeling texture. The darker parts of the image have more silver in the emulsion and are more stable, but the sun has fried and altered the brighter parts at a faster rate. 

We normally associate light with being generative, but it also can be destructive. While light was necessary in creating these images, it is also responsible for their transformation and gradual destruction.


For more information about the artist, please visit his website.