Unearthed Project

Unearthed Project was an exhibit that I did with my dear friend Danielle Rubi in 2006. I will let the curator explain what this show was about, and how we went about making these beautiful and exceptionally large prints.

“This is the other side of America, where fame doesn’t always intersect with true talent, and where the truly gifted often inhabit domains of their own hermetic, unseen, unheralded, but always present in the quakes and flux of our cultural landscape.” – Johnathan Williams, A Palpable Elysium/ Portraits of Genius and Solitude

“Graham Bury and Danielle Rubi’s exquisitely rendered photographic portraits combine a style that is more 1906 than 2006 with a large-scale format that is innovative and contemporary. Employing the antique Van Dyke process Bury and Rubi unearth regional notables and elevate them to the status of cultural icons. At once a photographic exhibit and a site-specific installation, the seventeen images of Unearthed were shown in an idyllic garden setting, each piece suspended from its own freestanding armature.

Shunning digital alternatives, Bury and Rubi embrace epic proportions never before seen with the Van Dyke process.  Printing with Van Dyke chemistry requires a large format negative in the size of the desired print and sunlight to expose the image. The artists established an outdoor studio that capitalizes on Santa Barbara’s temperate climate, as they reimagined the regional tradition of plein air art production.  Here, the terrestrial paradise is not simply a backdrop, but an active element of process.” – Elizabeth Lovero, curator

More on the show from a Daily Nexus article, October 5, 2006:

“Unearthed” Exhibit Digs Up Some of Santa Barbara’s Best Contemporary Photography
By Rachel Hommel, Staff Writer

Hippies. Yuppies. Tree-huggers. This was your night. Last Saturday, a private Santa Barbara residence laid out the welcome mat for the “Unearthed” photo exhibit. Surrounded by a lush landscape and ambient music, the open reception was an idyllic peek into the future of contemporary art.
“Unearthed” is the collaborative effort of local photographers, Danielle Rubi and Graham Bury. The exhibit was an “unearthing” of inspiring subjects, all with unique visions of the world. The subjects are all regional visionaries who encompass a vivacity and passion for life. Their youthful nature and energy were evident, as was their contribution to society. Photographed with documentary-style preciseness, the detailed biographies further added to the honest nature of the images.
“These portraits are comprised of first reactions, from how the subjects behaved to how they felt at the time,” Danielle Rubi said. “While it may not fit the mold of a ‘classic portrait,’ we wanted the photos to be playful and true to their character.”
The photos were displayed out in the garden on what looked like clotheslines. Everything was very organic and earthy, as the photos waved about in the afternoon breeze. The photos were each 4 feet square, the largest Vandyke prints ever made. This process, dating back to 1842, involves the use of light for developing images. As a result, the photos were a beautiful sepia color, appearing both antique and crisp. Nature was the active element in the exhibit, as the photos provided commentary on today’s cultural and social issues.