Students

Coming into Focus

By
Alyssa Cressotti
Posted
October 19, 2021
distorted digital image
Image
man with sunglasses
Christian Solar '23

“All of the photos in the exhibit are completely unedited,” says Christian Solar ’23. “I really want to make that clear, because when you see them, they look crazy.”

The images, which are part of Christian’s Digital Distorted exhibit at the Pace University Art Gallery, were captured on a semi-vintage (circa 2008) Kodak EasyShare camera that had originally belonged to his mother.

“It feels like such a stroke of luck,” Christian says about his exhibit. He had been working on some images and shared them with Gallery Director Sarah Cunningham who saw an opportunity to develop his work into a cohesive exhibit. He went after the opportunity in full-force.

“You look at the photo and video quality and you can pinpoint that this looks like early-2000s footage and it puts you back into that headspace,” he explains. “Even if I’m shooting really recent things, it still gives that feeling.”

 “This camera is actually broken—certified broken,” he laughs. “I started using it because it gave me these surprise organic results. You never know what you’re actually going to end up with; I can’t predict it and it’s almost like a filter.”

Even though Christian’s cameras aren’t even 20 years old, in the world of digital media, they are vintage. There’s a distortion and fuzziness and a certain look that the cameras of 2021 just aren’t able to give. Plus, just take a look at Instagram and TikTok, with faux light-leaks and pixelated filters abound. There’s an ineffable quality to the recent past and Christian is capturing it, one photo and video at a time.

“You look at the photo and video quality and you can pinpoint that this looks like early-2000s footage and it puts you back into that headspace,” he explains. “Even if I’m shooting really recent things, it still gives that feeling.”

The exhibit is purely aesthetics, and for Christian, that was the point.

“I was looking to make things that were visually engaging,” he says. “There isn’t necessarily a deeper meaning behind it. With the video, sure, I’m working in visual symbology, but this exhibit is really all about looking pretty.”

Christian’s work is on exhibit now through October 30, 2021, at the Pace University Art Gallery at 41 Park Row. On Friday, October 22, join Christian and other gallery artists for a special reception from 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

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