Brenton Hamilton, a master of alternative photographic processes, has just updated his website with new work. I have been a longtime admirer of Brenton’s mysterious and deeply affecting images, and have also had the privilege of working with him on several projects, as well as a cross-country mentorship that has been a constant source of inspiration and motivation. His new collection of images (gallery IV on his website) consists largely of circular portraits rendered in neutral shades of browns and golds created by a luscious combination of platinum-palladium and gum-bichromate. There are also the occasional salted paper prints which Hamilton has crafted in shades of red, as well as strict gum-bichromate prints which turn deep shades of green.
The portraits themselves seem to bring our attention more into the personalities and inner dialogues of Brenton’s figures, as opposed to some of his earlier work in which the actions and interactions of the figures with their surroundings and fellow inhabitants seemed to dominate. Here, the primary focus seems to be on the identity of the subjects, or rather, their multiple identities. The term two-faced takes on a very literal meaning in these new images, as several of the figures seem to be emerging from behind masks or splitting themselves into separate identities. Or are there simply two people occupying the frame? Just as the circles themselves aren’t always circles, and the colors shift from browns to greens to reds, Hamilton’s new images defy any quick categorization and attempts to gain easy answers. I could write about them for days.
www.brentonhamiltonstudio.net (go to gallery IV)