Opening reception is Tuesday, September 27 6:00 – 9:00.
By Joshua Blevins Peck
“Dead Cinema” is a series of twenty 20″ x 20″ color photographs that attempt to link the bittersweet remembrance of what once was by exposing the harsh, unforgiving neglect of a beloved cultural institution: the movie theatre.
The movie theatre has had a glorious past. Unfortunately, in this 21st century world of the oversized, concrete box mentality of exhibiting movies, all the charm, style, grace and whimsy has been replaced by the pursuit of multiple screens and massive parking lots. Whether in a small town or city neighborhood, when it comes to movie theatres, it used to be very different.
Theatres of yesterday had marquees lit in vibrant, glowing, buzzing neon. Their names magically rolled off the tongue: Esquire, Lyric, Sun, Westland, etc, etc. Theatres were warm, inviting places filled with life as they anchored small town main streets, were the center of their neighborhoods or lit up the night sky with drive-ins along a rural patch of highway. Can we compare the cold-hearted, standoffish stranger that is a multiplex with such places as these?
“Dead Cinema” attempts to shed new light on these slowly dying architectural gems as they have been invisible too long. By exposing the damage to the theatres by ravages of time, the misuse of the structures and the sad beauty these theaters still possess, I hope to suggest that we’ve turned our back on something better. Progress has cost us a simpler, more beautiful, more intimate and more memorable experience of going to the movies. Seeing these images will make those who remember theaters of the past ache and those who don’t remember yearn for memories they don’t possess.
I work only with analogue film cameras. Film has an immediacy and warmth of tone that I still believe in. There is no color correction, cropping or digital manipulation in any of the images. The photographic prints in “Dead Cinema” will be recreated from the negatives of the originals and will be comprised of 20″ x 20″ images.
“Dead Cinema” is my longing to document an important, lost element of America. Nostalgia weaves its way through images of dilapidated structures, ghostly drive-ins and stubbornly majestic marquees, creating a powerful series of photographs wrapped in the shared fabric of our past.