Tim Horn is an inspiration. What began as a social media project documenting his life has blossomed into the artist’s first solo exhibition. He recalls, “On November 25th, my birthday, I started a project via my Facebook feed: “44X365,” a photograph a day throughout my 44th year. Approaching the six-month mark, it is clearly a collection of what I anticipated: the alluring, the repellant, the beguiling, and the tedious. However, it seems as if a number of friends have been enjoying the process as much as I have. I’ve also received a small handful of inquiries from curators, including Asbury Park’s Heaven Art Gallery owner Malcolm Navias, about hanging some of the works from this collection. Thrilling and terrifying, in equal measures.”
The result of this project culminates in “Sense of Space: Photography by Tim Horn,” which opens May 16 at 7:00pm at Heaven Art Gallery, Asbury Park, New Jersey. He observes, “I’ve always been drawn to scenic photography, in no small part because I thoroughly enjoy solitude while out scouting landscapes and subjects. Being in public places with camera gear sort of provides photographers with ‘permission’ to retreat into themselves (my introversion goes into overdrive while shooting and editing) and, by extension, really focus on perceiving space they’re in—the textures, the light, the colors (or lack thereof), the smells, the weather conditions, the vantage point, the calmness (or chaos), the numerous influences on the environment. The task, then, is to understand, capture, and convey a sense of space visually.
“Everything going on in a space—everything we sense—add up to something that is potentially (and powerfully) evocative. But this is also quite subjective. Quite a bit has been written about this, notably in the somewhat amorphous field of humanistic geography. We each draw upon our own personalities, emotions, backgrounds, experiences, and aesthetic preferences—along with our physical senses (and, sometimes, lack of one or the other)—to develop a sense of space. And of course, this sense of space is always changing, given that the myriad factors that contribute to our perceptions are always changing and the space itself is continually being influenced in some way: mild and catastrophic weather, climate change, pedestrian and automobile traffic, and human construction and destruction, among many factors.
“I’ve only recently come to understand this about my work, but it is evident in many of the photographs I’ve taken over the years. I ended up selecting photographs that best capture my sense of space in a particular place at a particular moment in time. A sunrise is certainly a beautiful visual in and of itself, but it’s much more than that. And it turns out you really can use photography to convey the nuances.
“I suppose there’s a geeky element to it, which extends to my day job as well: I’m a research and policy activist for a global health think tank. I enjoy the fact that photography is a medium that employs visual art and science. A combination of time-tested and novel techniques allow photographers to test the law of reciprocity (the relationship between shutter speed and aperture); minimize or maximize aberration; capture light and movement; delineate or obscure focal points; correct and manipulate the hue, value and intensity of color; and share work through a variety of platforms. The science is in the knowledge and process of using available equipment, software, and applications to capture, explore, and disseminate an observation or image; the art is in the ability to convey an observation or imagination in a manner that resonates, either positively or negatively.
“Beyond a long-held enthrallment with the science and mechanics of photography—I don’t think too many people would name daguerreotype as a childhood fascination—I probably didn’t really appreciate photography as an artistic medium until I took a class in high school, armed with a 35mm Konica SLR and a penchant for the smell of developing chemicals. I kept it up for a while, but abandoned it as the trappings of adulthood demanded that I seriously consider other directions. In my late 30s, after many years of devouring the work of so many others and lacking any sort of creative outlet, I thought it time to pick the camera up again.
“I definitely won’t chalk it up to a midlife crisis. I’ve always had a number of musical friends and I’ve always been fascinated by their passionate, nuanced, and practiced relationships with music and incredible self-awareness regarding their gift. The problem is, I’m profoundly hard-of-hearing and have been for several years. So the acoustical mechanics, let along the richness and details, of music has been pretty much lost on me. But I make up for it visually. And what I desperately wanted was to be fully engaged in an art form that would allow me to experience things, certainly not acoustically and not just visually, but viscerally. I’m neither clever nor patient with a paintbrush or pencil. I do, however, know my way around a camera and editing software—and I continue to relish the iterative processes both require—and I make point of creating a photograph of something… anything, really… as often as possible. It is my daily Zen.”