Spotlight on Benjamin Stein

Photo: Misha Davidoff

Photo: Misha Davidoff

Benjamin Stein is a photographer based in Baltimore. He is looking for a job.

Benjamin kicked off issue two by creating the first piece with the theme chiaroscuro in mind.

On creating his piece:

What is photography, especially black and white photography, but chiaroscuro? I wanted to locate the medium within the theme. That is, to ask the question again: what does a photograph contain other than light and shadow? Or, what are the conditions of representing light and shadow in a photograph? For me the answer was time—the aim to make visible the relation between time and light and shadow. The only source of light in the photographs is the small wax candle visible in the frame. Over time, between 60 and 120 seconds, the light reflects the body, creating form. In the space of the exposure, the body trembles, the wind blows, the photograph reflects time.

On Issue Two as a whole:

Observing the metamorphosis of the theme from piece to piece, I’m struck by the unexpected affinity between translation and chiaroscuro, and of course with the network of tele-related concepts, as well. The logic of this journal invites the reader to play a game of interpretation: to seek the traces of an idea preserved in its transmissions. From one artist to the next the economy of translation reveals the fragility of the transmission, the possibility of misreading, the certainty of loss. I was tickled, for instance, by Mercedes’ wondering at Austin’s sapacity, at what was meant, and how that apparent miscommunication reflects the imperviousness of the message to corruption. It remains readable, but as something entirely other. So, amid these moments of contingency and accident, what exactly does remain? In each instance the terms of response are but a fragment of what was uttered, and the supposedly underlying connective theme of chiaroscuro flickers at times imperceptibly. I flit among the pieces, disordering them, to see what light passes between Rachel and Lydia, what is lost to shadow. For a moment I impossibly glimpse my body in the video static of Through a Field; in the frenetic montage of Francisco’s film I feel the angled cuts of Luca’s renderings. Somehow the shape of each piece is illuminated through the prism of the others, but the source of light is diffused, scattered, and untraceable.