Life through the lens


POSTED: Sunday, June 07, 2009

A passion for photography has been the foundation for the friendship of a trio of photographers with very different backgrounds and experience. It's also the foundation for their show, “;Seen and Unseen: The Photographic Visions of Charles Bowen, Jean-Jacques Dicker and Phillippe Gross.”;





        “;The Photographic Visions of Charles Bowen, Jean-Jacques Dicker and Phillippe Gross”;:

» On exhibit: Through June 20


» Place: Koa Gallery, Kapiolani Community College


» Gallery hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays


» Call: 734-9374 or visit koagallery.kcc.hawaii.edu




Bowen is a newbie to the world of photography; Dicker is a longtime, well-known shooter; and Gross is a psychologist who calls the craft “;one of the things that keeps me going.”; While the contributions of each photographer are distinctive—Bowen's shots are of Japan, Dicker's collection showcases nudes and Gross' works cover a wide range of subjects and approaches—the show achieves instant cohesiveness because it is all done in black and white.

The other unifying aspects come in the title, “;Seen and Unseen.”;

“;There are several layers in that title,”; says Gross. “;One, the picture happens in a fraction of a second, so the rest of the story is left to the imagination. Another theme is the way the image is framed. A lot of meaning is left out. The way a photographer frames is important—it's what he decides to show. Then there's the theme Dicker's work articulates: “;People don't tend to see one another naked unless they're intimate. There's that 'seen and unseen.'

“;We wanted a title that didn't limit the viewer,”; says Gross. “;We want to keep the mind open.”;

BOWEN TOOK UP a camera just two years ago, after moving to Japan and deciding he wanted to document his new home. Now back in Hawaii, he's working on a project about Waikiki and meets weekly with his buddies Dicker and Gross to discuss photography over dinner. This is the first exhibit showing a body of Bowen's work. (Two of Bowen's photographs were also accepted into the latest “;Artists of Hawaii”; juried exhibit at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.)

Dicker is “;perhaps the most published photographer in the islands,”; says Gross. “;He's known internationally, and there's versatility in what he shoots.”; Dicker works as a waiter to support his true calling; Gross says he tucks away his earnings for long jaunts around the globe to document people and places.

As for Gross, photography's been a lifelong passion that he's integrated into his work and study of psychology. In fact, Gross' psychology dissertation became a book titled “;The Tao of Photography.”; He says it's about “;using photography as meditative practice.”;

Gross says he's taken thousands of shots, but it's the “;one in 200 or 300”; that is worth exhibiting.

“;If I find one that strikes me, I sit it on the couch and live with it for a week, look at it while I'm eating. I gotta fall in love with it or it's gone,”; he says. “;A good photographer is also a good editor. He must have the ability to decide what's good and not good. He must throw away a lot. And to do this well, he must see other people's work. This skill uses a different part of the brain.”;

But the bottom line for Gross is that photography enriches his life. “;I love to see how other people view the world, but I can't be in their head. But through photography, I can see what they see. And maybe that will make me a better viewer.”;