Sandra Louise Dyas: Down to the River; Portraits of Iowa Musicians
- April 2 through April 30
- 8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday
- Lecture & Reception:
- Thursday, April 9 from 11:30am to 2:30pm. The artist will speak between 11:30 and 12:30.
Photography is a wonderful medium for exploring the world and expressing ideas I cannot adequately say with words. I use a camera because it is a direct tool that allows me access into other people’s lives. I look for photographs that contain reality and ambiguity. I listen more closely; to see things I would not ordinarily see. Discovering what lies within the frame is what drives me to photograph it. I am fascinated with time and memory. Pictures are the language I use to make sense of the mysterious world I live in.
Heaven & Earth, my newest work, was taken with two digital cameras; a small point and shoot and a SLR. Most of this work is color, which is a radical departure for me. I enjoy how differently I use the two cameras. The smaller camera’s photographs draw on the snapshot. I have taken snapshots since I was a child. The framing is looser; I take more chances. With the SLR the framing is more formal. Many of the images are people I know or who I have met for the first time. Some of the photographs are interior and exterior images of all but forgotten hotels. The Iowa landscape, my home, is also woven into this collection. This body of work was shot and archived over time. Older black and white photographs of mine are also included. Using collage and juxtaposition to form new relationships, the photographs are pinned to the walls of a gallery.
A large on-going body of work entitled The Lost Nation Photographs are found moments in time. Most of the photographs were taken with a small format camera with a wide-angle lens. My interaction with my subject and the environment is very important. I am looking for a connection I can feel. This work is all film based, primarily silver gelatin prints. Although Lost Nation is a small town in eastern Iowa, my Lost Nation does not occupy a particular place. These images denote a personal landscape.
My work with musicians in the past twenty years reflects a similar philosophy. Photographing musicians in Iowa landscapes, bars and small towns results in photographs that are intimate and powerful. Down to the River; Portraits of Iowa Musicians is a collection of portraits and memories. The University of Iowa Press published my first book in June of 2007.
All of my pictures are the antithesis of the shiny new America we see on TV. I am drawn to the oddness of life, its beauty and its honesty. I look for images that evoke a message of both hope and hopelessness. I use my camera as a way to see, to interact with the world and to remember.