Seth Anderson has been fascinated by photography since he was a small boy, and has been diligently taking photographs for over twenty years. One of his favorite pastimes is strolling in diverse neighborhoods, camera on hip, seeking the poetry contained in urban milieus, as seen in all four seasons. His work explores the intrinsic beauty of shared public spaces, from the dust of the pavement, to the delight of architectural patterns.
His work has been republished around the globe, at places as diverse as Kennedy Center Honors Film Office; New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House; St. Martin’s Press; Reaktion Books; Steamboat Films; WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio; GapersBlock Chicago; The Chicagoist; Forbes.com; DNA Info Chicago; Le Monde; The Atlantic.com; BoingBoing; The Huffington Post; The Daily Beast; The LAist; Wikipedia (not by him) and many other websites, blogs, news sites, books, films, and in businesses and private collector’s homes.
The work in this show reflects a Japanese aesthetic concept called Wabi Sabi (侘寂). In the Wabi Sabi universe all is not polished to a high sheen. There are flaws inherent to almost everything, and beauty is expressed in these flaws. Trees have scars where winds ripped branches to the ground; musicians are better than robots because sometimes musicians play the wrong notes. Faces have blemishes, city pavement has cracks, where the earth below has shifted; locks rust and decay and yet still have beauty.
Wabi Sabi can be appreciated in photographs too – flaws in a photo’s creation are not shameful, perfection is ok, but so is not-perfection.
Photographs represent a different place and different time. Photographs are the map but not the territory. Framed photographs are windows into that other place and time, yet they are but an imperfect copy. If the photograph is not printed properly, this illusion is made obvious. Thus Wabi Sabi is the aesthetic map to the visual territory in this collection.
As Bob Dylan said, “Michelangelo’s statue of David is not the real David.”