“Optic Nerve” by Arno Rafael Minkkinen

• Brittany Holmes
Exhibition: Optic Nerve by Arno Rafael Minkkinen
  Location: Atelier De Mécanique

• This exhibition was about making the image that the camera captured into an idea that now takes place in the mind. The idea that things that can be imagined can be captured with a camera was the original thinking of Minkkinen when he started photography. However, when continuing his work photography various parts of his body, he began to see that the opposite can be true. Through this dual belief of the important relationship between camera and brain, Minkkinen has been able to begin to see things before imagining them. As he stated, “[t]here is no manipulation of the image of any kind even though my imagination can pre-visualise a thousand possibilities. For any idea to succeed it has to be anchored in the reality of the moment of its making” (as found in the artist description at the beginning of Minkkinen’s exhibit).With the combination of these ideas, and many years of experience, Minkkinen is now able to allow his camera to see things his mind has not yet imagined, Minkkinen states, “[t]hat’s the inventive side of the task; the responsibility I share with my camera to wrestle from reality new sparks of spontaneity and unique visual impossibilities.” He does this while still maintaining the power to create what his mind sees. Through this experimentation and balance, he is able to deliver these unique images. As he states, “[a]rt is risk made visible.” Through his work it is easy to see that these risks pay off to allow for impactful images.
• The impression of this exhibit is one that is everlasting. Besides the fact that these beautiful black and white images were well composed, sometimes used perfect reflections, focused, and many other things that lead to the final result of an excellent image, they were most importantly unique. The singlehanded most important lesson to be learned from this exhibit was to take the time to really compose an image to make it your own. What was most fascinating about Minkkinen’s work was that he was able to bring a fresh perspective to the human body, something that we have all seen in many different angles and lights before. In order to make something so familiar seem very abstract and memorable is something that was awe-inspiring. Also, the ability to allow the camera to see some of the things that your brain may have overlooked is something that is thought-provoking and useful to keep in mind when photographing. This exhibit highlighted the importance of one’s view on the world and making a mark by being able to communicate that feeling with others.

•One memorable image from this exhibit is the one Minkkinen’s feet in the sand and his arms laid flesh against the backs of his legs. It is entitled, “Self Portrait,” like most photos in this exhibit. This image stood out to be because it is not often that we see hands and feet connected, even more so with the arms behind the legs. Another important aspect that drew me to this image was the diagonals that the arms and legs created within the photograph.

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