26 May–15 June, 2018

Opening Reception: Saturday, 26 May
7pm-12am

Paradox Barbershop
161 Ste 1 Jackson St
San Jose, CA 95112

 

This exhibition explores the role of photography for millennials while taking place at a barbershop, an environment that has traditionally served a secondary function as a community forum. Only here, the tradition has been reimagined so that the barbershop becomes an alternative artspace to include everyone else beyond the town's sheriff, mechanic, or football coach.

 
 

Louis Ramos, Bridge

"The concept of a bridge is a structure carrying a road, path, railroad, or canal across a river, ravine, or other obstacle. Society itself is like a bridge, metaphorically speaking. It is a structure that connects individuals to one another. After moving to Oakland, I realized that a bridge has an alternative purpose. Here, an overpass can work as a shelter for the homeless. For as long as I can remember, gold picture frames have always exuded wealth, regalia, and a Eurocentric vibe. Used to encase the imagery of the homeless population residing beneath bridges in the Bay Area allude to the disruption of what we have been taught to believe is the norm. Are bridges only meant to connect two points? Are bridges only meant to promote scenery along walks? Are gold vintage picture frames only meant to assist the depiction of royalty, happiness, or the good life? I think not. I think to believe in the norm is to give up on the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and freedom of expression. These gold picture frames display the way of life that the homeless are content with. When presenting images meant to be in-depth, I feel as though those drowned in color often lose their purpose whereas black and white imagery puts the viewers eyes at ease and to me, is less distracting."
 
 

The late American writer, filmmaker, educator, and political activist, Susan Sontag, made the observation that “photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing–which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.” This statement was first published in the 1973 essay, “On Photography,” but is arguably much more relevant today.

 
 

Robert Borsdorf, Homebound

"My camera serves me as a visual diary for my own personal use, a way to remind myself visually of what I think about the most, what I concern myself with, and what I look forward to. Photography, to me, is a device for personal study rather than a tool for artistic creation. I place it on the same level as writing in a notebook, rather than traditional art forms such as drawing or painting. It is a form of communication, but then again, all art is communication. These photographs examine my inner desires for a domestic life. I’m constantly lost in thought about my future, about if I’ll ever be able to own a house, and navigating a feeling of displacement in my 20’s. I choose to photograph these houses as a way to reflect on my home life before moving to the East Bay, and to reminisce about the similarly facaded houses that I grew up around. I take these photographs as a reminder of my aspirations and a desire to one day achieve a stable domestic life, a home, something to hold me down that I call my own. Shooting these images on expired Kodak Ektachrome Slide film produces a false-colored, dreamlike presence that reminds me that these desires have yet to become real. Berkeleyan serves as a constant reminder of what is to come."
 
 

Sebastian “Bashh” Ageday, For My Peoples

"This piece is from my project called Camera On Drugs. Here, the word “drugs” is used as an acronym. It stands for Displaying Reality Using Generational Standards. My camera photographs the heartfelt realities of what's going on in our world today and displays it to my generation who do not truly see what is going on because we are too blinded by social media and its artificial realities. This piece is dedicated to “Black Lives Matter.” As much as we scream and cry the slogan, it feels as if we are not being heard. Even though the phrase is still in use, the people of our generation falls off the topic until another traumatic or horrific event reawakens the trauma and this plea for humanities, justice, and civility. My piece is made to remind people that we should never turn a blind eye on such a topic or idea especially when it can help reshape our everyday social environments. We’re put on this earth to love and to help one another–this is what I decided to dedicate my life to."
 
 

Due in part to the introduction of the first consumer digital camera in 1995, Flickr in 2004, the iPhone in 2007, and then Instagram in 2010, the culture of photography has been dramatically reshaped. Although it is a much younger medium in comparison to drawing or painting, photography still manages to command a vast majority of our visual culture with 1.2 trillion photos taken in 2017 alone where 85% of those photos were taken from smartphones [1]. However impactful, this wide embrace further contributes to the growing polarity of photography as art and non-art.

 
 

Kim Nguyen, Yellow Fever

"Yellow Fever attempts to reclaim space and gaze through photography and performance. Two definitions for yellow fever pop up in Google search: 1. A virus from a female mosquito bite 2. White men who exotify and hypersexualize Asian women. To be dismissive, folks like to say it is a “preference.” When thinking of the two meanings in parallel there are a plethora of things that come to mind–the symbolism, irony, anger, resonance, guilt, sadness, and etc. My experiences emotionally encompass all. This concept was initially a joke to numb myself from racism: wouldn’t it be funny to just paint myself yellow and record it??? (the delusion) Then it turned into a collaboration and a series of photographs representing my lived realities, in all its chronic depression, hyper anxiety, debilitating moments and healing. Photography is amazing in how quickly it can visualize your thoughts, open dialogue and accessibility. Engaging with the photographs with given context completely changes the dynamic between viewer and photo in relation to a quick scroll. The project is meant to create visibility for Asian-American women who are constantly objectified and subjected into unwanted roles."
 
 

IRL: Photography Offline aims to investigate this spectrum by examining what it means for photography to be “an amusement” versus what it means for it to be art. While some see photography simply as an extension of their memory, others use it to make sense of their philosophies, to make sociopolitical statements, or to simply share the nuances of beauty–the daring would even dabble in the ugly.

 

Niko Kitaoka, The Chosen

"I began exploring photography with a fascination for documenting people. In my youth, my parents would share photographs of our family’s past generations. That experience provided a visual perspective on who had come before me and how my family came to be. I identified how important it is for people to experience the same thing. I decided to commit to black and white for the sense of timelessness, elegance and without distraction of color. The main focuses are lighting and expression. My father, a photographer, instilled upon me that these two aspects will create a lasting image if executed well. My subjects were chosen based on attraction. Each of these people I am attracted to for an aspect of their character, energy or physical appearance. In short, these are people who I wish to keep company with. In return for their time I produce a photograph with the intention for the subjects to feel great about their self image and to share with their friends and family."
 
 

Designed specifically for viewers who participate in the extensive use of social media, this exhibition also serves as an invitation for technocultural-socialites to consider photography outside of a virtual context. It forces viewers to look at photography removed from the social ramifications of followers, likes, comments, or tags. This experience requires an in-person intimacy that is not adulterated by the algorithmic immediacy of infinity scrolling. This allows for the possibilities of tactility and deeper reads.

 
 
 
 

Jear Keokham, No. 66 (Vanitas)

"I think about photography as an art form profusely because I hunger for what it can be beyond its superficiality. Lighting, tonality, composition, and the camera itself are important elements but much like our skin and bones, they alone cannot define who or what we are. I believe that great photography balances itself with physical qualities while evoking memories, criticalities, or personal truths. No. 66 (Vanitas) borrows from the still life painting genre known as vanitas which was popularized in the Netherlands during the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a symbolic form that employs iconography that puts our youth, beauty and the joys of life in contrast with age, decay, suffering, and inevitable demise. Exhibited as a print encased in a frame made out of ice, this work only lives during the opening reception where spectators are encouraged to activate it by funneling liquid pleasures through its luge. As ice sculptures are traditionally commissioned to function as centerpieces, this spectacle places our own mortality in plain sight while allowing participatns to expedite its expiration. The length of the opening reception is in sync with the life of the photographic sculpture."
 

Olivia Harrison, Do I Know You?

"Do I Know You? is about the feeling of being unfamiliar with some place or someone that you know really well. Everything is in its place except something is slightly off, you can’t quite put your finger on it but something is not right. When experiencing this it makes me look closer at the things I am surrounded by and it really shines the light on just how fragile the worlds we have created actually are. In relation to my work in general I continue to use photography as a way to understand not only things about myself but how it can relate to other people. This is what photography is for me, using the medium almost as a way to take notes of the things that I feel and the things that I experience."
 
 
 

Jenna Meacham, Untitled (top), Fear Itself (bottom)

"Being an artist is all about intent. Photography is, arguably, the most available art form even though at one time photographers were not seen as artists at all, and really had to fight for their place in the fine art world. Now there is an over-saturation of “photographers” shooting with the intention of exposure. When I created these images, it was not my intention to post them online to entertain my Instagram community. I had deeper intentions. Feeling overwhelmed and afraid led me to photograph underwater. The tactility of and history of the cyanotype led me to juxtapose the medium with one of the symbols for consumerism. When you take photographs off of the screen and give them a new audience you allow for deeper engagement with the work and an IRL community."
 
 
 

Participating artists include:

Sebastian “Bashh” Ageday*
*(formerly Xana)
Robert Borsdorf
Olivia Harrison
Jear Keokham
Niko Kitaoka
Jenna Meacham
Kim Nguyen
& Louis Ramos

 
 
 

Opening Reception Recap

Instagram+Stories+1.png

Special thanks to Jawk of the Séance Circle and Yurimagination for sounds, Norman Fung for beverage distribution, Isaiah Leyva of Rebel Gallery Tattoo, San Francisco for flash tattoos, Shawn Hernandez for video coverage, to /PRDX/ for generously sharing their space, and lastly, to everyone that experienced the exhibition. This exhibition would not have been possible without your support.

 
Photographs Courtesy of Zachary DeCastro:
 
 
Photographs Courtesy of Jaime Silva Jr.: