Monday, March 21, 2011

03.21.11 : Artist Entry : Ed Panar

Ed Panar was born in 1976 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He received a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. His publications include, Golden Palms, Same Difference, and Animals That Saw Me.

Dubbed "Animals That Saw Me," Ed Panar's animal portraits capture that rare fleeting–and surprisingly awkward–moment when you cross paths with an off-guard critter.

Roaming the natural and urban world with a camera for over 16 years, often alone, on foot, keeping a low profile, Ed Panar has repeatedly been caught in the act of photography—not by other people, but by a random assortment of familiar animals: cows, cats, frogs, dogs, turtles, deer, etc. The animal sees Ed, and Ed sees the animal; an unspoken message passes between them. If he’s lucky, the moment is captured on film, cataloged, tagged for future reference. The first collection of his most surprising and unexpected encounters with ordinary beasts—a brief, deadpan field study of the uncanny moment of recognition between species. As we question exactly what these animals may have seen, the pictures serve as a reminder that we must appear at least as strange and exotic to them as they do to us.

"At first glance, Ed’s images seem casual and quirky, like quick snapshots taken by a passerby. Your eye searches for what’s usually the blatant intent of the image. What is this a picture of? With Ed’s work, you look longer. You notice an odd detail, sometimes buried in the composition. A carefulness of the mise-en-scene." - Johanna Reed

"I like to think of my projects as composites of a lot of different ideas and experiences. The stories are always developing, overlapping, being forgotten and then remembered again. The initial spark can start anywhere. Sometimes a single idea or image will inspire a whole series, or I will re-discover a group of images I made a few years ago but never got around to putting together. It’s all fair game, as far as I’m concerned." - Ed Panar

My concept has to do with not only people interacting with animals, but also animals acknowledging people in return. The title of the series is what got me interest in Ed Panar's work. As humans, we tend to think that the world revolves around us and is there for our taking. What I enjoy about this series is that it questions who acknowledged who first? How we may perceive each other could be very different. My series covers these same types of questions without having the animal stare directly at the camera or me.

Ed Panar

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