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Time Machine
Salt Lake Seven - Two Thousand Eight

You may notice that our numbers do not correspond to our name… there are eight visual artists represented in this collection. Last year, when we did our first book there were six of us. Next year the number may change. So you see, seven as we use it is something of an ineffable number, representing the nature of our group rather than the number of chairs at our table.

Meeting since the mid-1990s, we are accumulating a weight of yesterdays, and, hopefully, have become a force for encouraging new and better photographic work. New faces have joined us this year. These members bring new images and ideas that help keep all of us fresh. For those who are just now being introduced to Salt Lake Seven, I quote from our website [www.saltlakeseven.com] as a way of helping you understand who we are and what we do:

Great things happen when a small group of committed practitioners of any art form gather on a regular basis to show their work and share ideas. These gatherings become an arena in which creative, technical and philosophical challenges are made and accepted. Ideas are voiced, tried on for size, and kept or recycled. The group becomes a sounding board wherein people you have learned to trust respond to your offerings honestly, thoughtfully, fairly, passionately. Criticism is never an attack, merely a response. Therefore, you don’t feel threatened. Mistakes become keys that open doors to new possibilities. Successes become validations that give you confidence to take greater creative risks. Over time, as part of such a group, it is impossible to avoid growth.

For our group, as for everyone, another year has come and gone, like the opening and closing of a camera’s shutter. As photographers, what we really hold in our hands is a time machine. Time is the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past. John Szarkowski, photographic curator, historian, photographer and author has written,

“All photographs are time exposures, of shorter or longer duration, and each describes a discrete parcel of time. This time is always the present. Uniquely in the history of pictures, a photograph describes only that period of time in which it was made. Photography alludes to the past and the future only in so far as they exist in the present, the past through its surviving relics, the future through prophecy visible in the present.” (John Szarkowski, The Photographer’s Eye, Museum of Modern Art, 1966)

Our cameras hold particular moments in suspension, keeping them from belonging solely to the past. Our photographs – time exposures all – preserve the present within fractions of a second, defying the inevitable and irrevocable sweep of the clock.

And we thought all we were doing was taking pictures.

This year, as we sought new challenges, we wanted to have our own venue for sharing our vision, our experiences, our discoveries, and our creative journeys. This book is our annual venue. We hope that many more will follow.

Kent Miles
Salt Lake City
November, 2008

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