New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Wendy Paton
Visages de Nuit
Wendy Paton, The Hand, 2006

Wendy Paton is no Weegee, not that she ever aspired to follow in his footsteps. But both photographers, in their own distinct way, captured the drama and mystery of nighttime. Weegee, of course, was famous for blood and guts. In her exhibition, “Visages de Nuit,” Paton just goes for the guts in trying to “provoke compelling, mysterious emotions of uncertainty.” As she explains, “I attempt to capture the many layers of the human personality...the images’ dark, gritty characteristics convey the surreal qualities of what I feel is hiding behind what we normally view as reality.” Huh? This reality appears to be a series of high contrast black and white images that put more emphasis on technique and less on content. It raises the question, is a blur art or is a blur just a blur? Put another way, what is going on here? I get it...we’re voyeurs in club land, with a parade of night people walking past us, a blur in the night in some instances, or in “Crossing the Line,” we’re watching a couple arm in arm cross a half-lit street. Should we be wondering where they’re going? Is that the mystery?

There is some mystery, less pretension and more craft in other images. “The Hand” is a high contrast picture of a white hand against black and “Le Collier,” also high contrast, shows an attractive woman wearing a serious necklace, half of her face in deep shadow.

Overall, there are some interesting images here – but how they fit into Paton’s overall theme is unclear.

 by unidentified photographer.
Wendy Paton, Thru The Frame, 2006

Wendy Paton
Visages de Nuit

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Thursday, March 11 to
Friday, April 30, 2010
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