Osher shows 'Paris in a Second' photography exhibit

by Elise Higgins | 2/16/16 6:05pm

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FAITH ROTICH/THE DARTMOUTH STAFF

With just a second to capture a moment with a camera, a street photographer must have a quick eye and a confident hand.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is currently showing an exhibit called “Paris in a Second” featuring photographs by Jim Lustenader ’66, taken for his book of the same name. The exhibit, which opened Feb. 1, is a collection of pictures featuring scenes from daily life in Paris.

Lustenader said he chose to focus on Paris because he finds the city to be charming and inspirational. The casual atmosphere of the city, where people sit outside in cafés or on benches, perfectly matches Lustenader’s technique, he said.

When observing the populated streets of a metropolitan landscape, Lustenader narrows down a subject by looking for relationships.

“What I look for is how people relate to each other in a particular situation or relate to the situation around them,” Lustenader said.

Lustenader said that he chose the style of street photography because he finds pictures with people to be more intriguing. He said that he finds landscapes to be uninteresting and portraiture to be too formal, so the candid format of street photography is perfect for him.

His photographs usually feature people interacting with others. Many of his café and metro scenes, which may seem ordinary at first, are powerful upon further examination. Lustenader’s talent is that he is able to discern the mundane from the extraordinary, to produce photos that are visually striking.

“If I see something shaping up to be a picture I get to it as fast as I can,” Lustenader said. “When it comes it just feels right. It’s one of those things where you say, ‘That’s it! Aha! I got it!’”

In these scenes of everyday life, the viewer can see his subjects’ humanity. In addition, the candid and casual nature of the pictures add a certain “je ne sais quoi,” making Paris the perfect setting.

Lustenader’s approach to his photography is unique and is part of the reason why Osher wanted to display them, said Laura Belback, program assistant at the institute. Osher only recently began showcasing exhibits, but when choosing artists, those involved look for those with talent as well as an involvement in the community, Belback said.

While Osher now exhibits art, it continues its main focus of holding classes for members of the community. There are three trimesters per year, Belback said, and most classes are held at the Dartmouth Outing Club house.

The addition of art exhibits to Osher can be seen as a way of furthering the organization’s goal of lifelong learning. Osher began showcasing art exhibits last month, said Diane Doe, administrative assistant at Osher. However, they are a welcome addition according to Doe.

“[The art] certainly improves the view from my desk,” Doe said.

The first exhibit displayed watercolors, and the exhibit after Lustenader’s will feature textiles. All three of these exhibits focus on very unique styles of art, Doe said.

Lustenader’s photographic style in particular is unique because of his approach. He focuses on what he calls the “clickpoint,” a brief moment in time that can be representative of everyday life. Lustenader’s pictures display this idea through their candidness and relaxed nature. None of his pictures are staged; instead, they all feature normal people doing everyday activities, Lustenader said.

Lustenader said he chooses to shoot in black and white because the look is “more rich.” He also prefers to use a film camera as opposed to digital because it looks “warmer” and has a “greater range of gray.”

Lustenader believes that his style of photography helps viewers engage with the pictures.

“People looking at the [photo] can appreciate what’s going on and look for a story in the picture,” Lustenader said. “I think if a picture doesn’t have a story it’s kind of flat.”

Lustenader’s exhibit, “Paris in a Second,” will be open until March 31 in the Osher office at 7 Lebanon St, Suite 107 in Hanover.

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