A Blue Idyll

For over 25 years visual artist and historian Brenton Hamilton has created a sustained body of work, mostly concentrated within the historic processes employing XIX century photography techniques, such as gum bichromate forms, platinum, collodion ambrotypes on black glass, French variants of paper calotype and the embellished cyanotype.

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Author: brentonhamilton


Influenced by the Surrealist motifs; coaxing dreamlike, chance collisions of fragments from art history, Hamilton shapes a new landscape in his photographs. The present symbolism of the dark night sky and the freedom to look outside himself towards unfettered ideas and musings, learning to make a new place with paper and metal salts and light allowing him to rest and wonder.

He combines human anatomy, astronomy and botanical imagery to create intriguing and provocative arrangements. His work references to ancient Greece and Rome, as well as 15th and 16th century Dutch and Italian paintings. Hamilton uses symbols and visual elements from the history of art to create a thoroughly contemporary vision.

Among significant influences that I respond to are the study of history and culture – and that has led to my ‘re-enactments’ on paper and glass. I have fashioned references to the artist’s studio, early diagrams and engravings of human anatomy, bird study and astronomy. The history of collecting and early museums that were called Wunderkammer have been especially powerful for me. These small, serious rooms were filled with bones and shells, engravings, fragments and casts, and semi- precious stones; drawers full of human knowledge!

In the pictures that I conjure up, the viewer is presented and sees an invented world. Animal bodies and human features, torsos surrounded by stars, or a studio still life of an unusual object emerging from blackness. I hope this work makes a space for the viewer to behold a new precipice.

Brenton Hamilton is a well-known mentor, teacher on the campus of Maine Media Workshops and a leading educator and historian. His photographs are widely collected and exhibited internationally and held in numerous permanent collections at: The Farnsworth Museum, Rockland, Maine. The Portland Museum of Art Portland, Maine. The University of New England and the Lamar Dodd Art Center in Georgia.

Essay by Lyle Rexer, a New York based independent writer and critic.

Features and Reviews
Decor Maine (January 2021)
What Will You Remember? – Favorite Photobooks 2020
Lenscratch – Favorite (photo)books of 2020
PhotoBook Journal
Analog Forever Magazine 
Don’t Take Pictures

Shortlists & Awards
PHotoESPAÑA2020 Best Photography Book Award, International category

Design: Victor Levie, Levievandermeer, Amsterdam
ISBN 9789053309414
Format: 24 x 30 cm
Hardback with cloth cover
112 pages with 93 images in full colour

Additional information

Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 30.4 × 24 × 14 cm


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