Of Love and Revelation: Learning Photography from the Land

An exhibition of contemporary photographic experiments reveal our entanglements with landscape, the power of arts pedagogy, and the trouble of settler colonialism.

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May 24–September 29, 2024

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Art Forum Gallery
3rd Floor

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“Some photographers take reality... and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation.” —Ansel Adams

Of Love and Revelation: Learning Photography from the Land explores California’s tradition of landscape photography as the outcome of relationships—between students and teachers; between the artist and the camera; and between all of us and the land. The exhibition features the work of Ansel Adams, Norman Locks, Karolina Karlic, Shelby Graham, Binh Danh, and Edgar Cruz.

Santa Cruz and its surrounding areas have long been an epicenter of creative photographic exploration fostered by unique intergenerational relationships. This exhibition showcases new and rarely seen work by six regional artists representing four generations of photographers, each with a unique relationship of teacher and student, each with their own radical approaches to the photographic art, and each with their own personal story of learning from this place.

How does photography reveal to us the “reality” of the land we live on, while also reminding us of what we don’t see? How do our own personal stories of putting down roots or being uprooted change how we relate to California as a place and as an idea? How do we make art about this land in a time where we can’t ignore the troubling realities of settler colonialism, climate change, economic inequality and social injustice?

The photographers in this exhibition bring the stories of their own journeys of immigration, education, experimentation, and imagination to the public, bringing to light the beautiful and complicated California that they see through their eyes. They do so through an array of both classic and contemporary experimental photo techniques including cyanotype, daguerreotype, double exposure, digital manipulation, and installation. This exhibition of new, contemporary photographic work gives us the opportunity to see the land we live in like we’ve never seen it before.

Of Love and Revelation: Learning Photography from the Land is guest curated by Gabriel Salomon Mindel.

Header image: Karolina Karlic, Fog Alchemy.

Meet the Curator

Gabriel Mindel


Gabriel Salomon Mindel

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Binh Danh, Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap, Yosemite CA, 2017.

Ansel Adams, Cowell Ranch Quarry, 1962-1968. Courtesy of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Special Collections & Archives.

Shelby Graham, Palm (detail), 2023.

Karolina Karlic, Fog Alchemy.

Edgar Cruz, Untitled, 2022.

Norman Locks, Pole, Desert Landscape, 2023.

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