Exhibit showcases unusual photos donated to Geneseo

The “From the Permanent Collection: New Acquisitions Part 1” exhibit in the Lockhart Gallery displays photographs taken by Joseph Constantino. These photographs were taken using invisible infrared light to create an eerie atmosphere in each image (Catherine White/editor-in-chief).

The sights around us can seem unremarkable when we look at them from the same perspectives every day. Visitors to the Lockhart Gallery’s most recent exhibit “From the Permanent Collection: New Acquisitions Part 1” are afforded the rare opportunity to see ordinary scenes from a different, darker perspective thanks to the infrared photography of Joseph Constantino. 

Constantino has donated several of his works to Geneseo’s permanent photography and digital collection, including a 2017 donation of a large-scale photograph that is not featured in the gallery currently. 

This photograph, though still infrared, is in color, whereas the photos in the “New Acquisitions” display are all only black and white. These black and white photos were donated during the spring and summer of 2018.

Galley director Cynthia Hawkins explained that the infrared photography technique is a way to take photographs in the dark or in murky conditions, and that the type of photograph produced is moody and grim-looking. 

“Infrared is supposed to be the new dimension,” Hawkins said. “It’s about the light. The infrared wavelength is longer than visible light, so you can take pictures in the dark, you can shoot fog and still pull out a really clear image.”

The pictures around the gallery feature landscapes, barns and even people. In the second room of the gallery, one piece called “Impressions of Magnolia Lake,” taken in 1994, stands out. 

The picture captures a small corner of the Georgian lake that is reflecting a few overhanging trees, providing the observer the feeling of a crouched space despite the lake’s expansive size. The pixilated black and white image becomes almost haunting due to the incorporation of a layer of fog above the water. 

“Infrared allows you to change the color on your photographs, where with normal photos you’d have to play around in photoshop,” Hawkins said. “You can get a lot of light play with infrared photos. I think these photographs have a very surreal sort of feel to them.”

Another equally striking image, “Brooklyn Bridge with Hot Dog Stand,” was taken in 2017 and uses more light than the lake piece, but it still gives off a dark and eerie feel because of an intensity in the black shades that Constantino usually avoids. 

The white highlights in the photo pop out to make the familiar New York City bridge look more ancient and decrepit than it really is; the hot dog stand looks tiny and lonely in comparison to the massive structure. 

The photos will be moved from the exhibit to Brodie’s art storage room, as Geneseo is fortunate enough to keep the art on-campus. Hawkins noted that several more exhibits are set to follow Constantino’s in the Lockhart Gallery.

“It’s a pretty intense year,” Hawkins said. “There’s going to be one more exhibit in the Lockhart Gallery this semester, and two more exhibits in this gallery in the spring.”

The Lockhart Gallery is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. “New Acquisitions” will be on display until Oct. 13.

In the spring, there will be a second part to the “New Acquisitions” display. Every gallery opening is free to the public and offers an enriching experience for students and adults alike.