Teres manipulates line, color in “50 Years of Photography”

Michael Teres’ “50 Years of Photography” explores the photographer’s experimentations with light and color. Consisting of self-portraits and shots of the human body, landscapes and food, the exhibition will be on display in the Lederer Gallery from Wednesday March 22–April 29. (Ellayna Fredericks/Staff Photographer)

The Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery is holding a thought-provoking new exhibition from photographer Michael Teres titled “50 Years of Photography” from Wednesday March 22-April 29.  

Teres is a retired professor of studio art here at Geneseo who has been exploring the way light affects various objects and forms. He has been photographing what he finds from a young age. Seeing these photographs in one gallery is a treat, as you can trace how Teres matured as a photographer throughout his life. 

The exhibit includes pieces from a series of self-portraits, including pieces that focus on a variety of subjects including food, landscapes, nature and the human body.

The photographs currently in the gallery are numerous and each is distinct in its exploration of line and color. The gallery is attention-grabbing upon first glance, simply because of the various hues central to each piece. Teres takes the colors in his photos and reduces them to the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. This creates an interesting relationship between line and color, giving Teres’ work a distinct quality. 

Many of Teres’ photographs explore light and shadow in relation to the lines of the human form. By shining a light on the human body, shadows inevitably create new, harsher lines, redefining how we think the human body should appear and blurring the line between what we think we know and what appears before us.

One such piece is that of a woman bent over in a yoga-like position. This movement creates a line between her shoulder blades, as her hair falls to the floor; her hands are held up behind her back, extending the line even further. This opened the photo vertically; one’s eye is drawn upward. This photo explores space and balance as well, as the woman is positioned slightly off-center, standing in front of a completely white background. 

Teres also explores light in landscapes. Using Photoshop, Teres enhances certain aspects of photographs, creating lines with different shades of color to further manipulate our perceptions of reality within a single photograph. These photographs bring to mind a mixture of surrealist and pop art photography.

There are also several prints on display in the exhibition. These are standouts, especially when presented side by side. One such pair of photos uses a similar print in both, but while the first uses many different ink colors, the second is only black and white. Essentially, the pair is exploring the same movement, but the different colors and light patterns draw our eye in different directions, allowing for vastly different reactions to each. These pieces are reminiscent of pointillism and pop art. 

All of Teres’ photographs are evocative, visually mind-bending and contradictory. The viewers easily find themselves drawn into each piece, as they attempt to grasp the subject principles of design that Teres was focused on. 

Each of Teres’ photographs are a striking experiment that gives the viewer new perspectives in regard to how we see our own bodies and the dimensions of the world we live in.