Matters of Scale: A Photo Exhibition

For me, nothing is quite as gratifying as seeing my photographic work framed, matted, and on display for the world to see. Recently, I‘ve had the opportunity to do this with 14 images from my portfolio. They’re hanging on the walls of Simon’s—a cozy little café in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Matters of Scale: A Photo Exhibition by @sjbennettphoto #photography #photo

Matters of Scale Photo Exhibition

The exhibition is called “Matters of Scale.” It starts with a monumental scale that defies the imagination — a scene from the Grand Canyon. From there, a vast stretch of sky segues to a walkway in an M.C. Escher-like building. The images then drill down to human scale with people at work and people going about their day. The human scale then gives way to artifacts found on the street and in nature.

Here’s a multimedia presentation of the exhibition (produced by motion designer Luis Socorro):

The show continues through mid-February 2018. Thanks to those who’ve stopped by. If you’re local and can drop in for a few minutes, your taste buds are in for a treat: Simon’s coffee is brewed to perfection and the food is terrific. Hope you can make it!

Olivia Caputo, actor, art enthusiast, and personal trainer, was kind enough to stop by the exhibit and write the following review.

When I walked into Simon’s Cafe on Mass Ave in Cambridge, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the coffee shop in which I worked for two years after college. From the wood accents to the smell of freshly brewed coffee to the carefully arranged pastries in their displays (from the same bakery we used), there was something familiar about the place. After coffee and a chat with a coworker, I turned to the photos adorning one wall.  The space is laid out in a single, long pathway; one is forced to choose at which end to start, and that choice determines the journey that one undergoes from the infinitesimal to the grand (or vice versa), which is appropriate for an exhibit titled “Matters of Scale.”

I began at the very back of the shop with a drop of water hanging from a leaf.  As I made my way towards the door, the subjects increased in scale, almost as if I could see the artist, Steve Bennett, zooming out with his camera to reveal a fuller and fuller picture. As we zoom further back the natural begins to intersect with the man-made in a classic dance of the urban pastoral; a glittery blue phone charger is treated with as much reverence as an apple or leaf. We zoom further to include people, or at least their feet, with full bodies only suggested by their shadows.  It is also in this way that the artist himself makes a cameo as a shadow of a man holding a shadow of a camera. One is reminded that these everyday moments and places are only made spectacular when viewed through his lens.

Zoom out further to reveal a man, his face obscured by a metalworking mask as he welds among a shower of sparks. Next another workingman atop a municipal vehicle straight from an H.G. Wells novel, as if he rides a metal hippopotamus. Zoom further to a city street, the impetus for all this work. A woman waits to cross a rainy road, her umbrella itself featuring a cityscape. This, my favorite photo of the series, truly begins to embody scale. The woman’s umbrella, a microcosm of the city in which she walks, reflects the skyscrapers overhead like an image reduced to a tiny world inside a drop of water.

Zoom further to reveal a building interior with honeycomb windows like a human beehive, engineering aping the world outside. As I approach the door and outside world, the images jump in scale again: a perfect blue sky punctuated by a windmill, a misty mountain landscape, and finally a massive canyon on a scale no man can construct.

This series emphasizes the natural beauty found in city life as well as the profound architectural feats of nature. From the smallest drop of water, to the river strong enough to carve a canyon, Bennett allows us to take in the world around us, and to finally see the entire picture even in the mundane moments of everyday life.  Thus he converts a nostalgic coffee shop into a transformative space and makes the familiar new again.

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