An expansive, heavenly series of photographs by Shawn Theodore is cast in Shades of Blues




March 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Shawn Theodore, courtesy of Paradigm Gallery, shared with permission

“To create in blue, you first have to understand its powerful nature,” he says Shawn Theodore in relation to Night stars, an extensive new series of photographs that exude the primary hue.

Theodore’s ethereal works were recorded with a variety of filters and lights and are multivalent in aesthetics and effect. They evoke a series of references that span across color and provide an antidote to evil against the practices surrounding the 19th century cyanotype, an archive medium that contains few black motifs in particular. Slavery in the United States was also at the forefront of indigo production. a cash harvest this rice and cotton eventually supplanted. “There has to be a world that exists in color. There is a spiritual process going on that asks us to look inside and there are answers somewhere in it, ”says the photographer.

in the an interview Regarding the elegantly subversive series, Theodore shares that the original idea for the series came in 2016 and was partly inspired by the aesthetics of nature photography. Regardless of whether it is a portrait or a more expansive shot, many of the works show skies, stars and water elements that have deep and historic roots in African and Afro-American traditions.

Along with his larger work Night stars is based on what Theodore calls “Afromythology”, a non-linear mixture of stories and speculative futures derived from both real and imaginary scenarios. In addition to the continuous infusion of blue light, this theme binds the individual works, which otherwise comprise a breadth of black experiences that have been decontextualized from time and space. Theodore says of the intentionally wide series:

This collection features portraits of jeweled deities immersed in indigo-colored ether, the passion for celebrations, the calm silence among the thick leaves and hills of the South Carolina lowlands, ownership in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, and awe of sunrise at Edge of the Caribbean. The focus is on the viewer, who stands in the bardos of these apparently incoherent experiences and whose presence unites the real and the unreal.

Night stars can be seen near Philadelphia Paradigm Gallery face-to-face and virtual until March 20th. Here you will find a larger collection of the work of the German-born photographer his side and Artsy.


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