Caribbean Artists Alter the Reflective Gaze in New TERN Gallery Photography Exhibition – Eye Witness News
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — TERN Gallery’s new photography exhibition “The Other Side of the Pentaprism: Six Photographers in Conversation” opened yesterday.
Works by six contemporary female Caribbean artists: Tamika Galanis, Melissa Alcena, Jodi Minnis, Tiffany Smith, Leanne Russell and Lynn Parotti, are on view until October 30, 2021.
A key tool in photography, the pentaprism is a five-sided reflective surface that refracts light at a 90 degree angle. This type of prism is used in a traditional single-lens reflex camera, reversing the image in the viewfinder that is sent to the eye from the camera lens. Thus, the image received by your brain has been transformed in order to deliver a version of “reality” to you. Simply put, a pentaprism “corrects” the inverted image caused by the camera lens – without the pentaprism, the viewfinder would show an upside down world.
While mirrors claim to display truthfulness, they are also capable of manipulation, through angles or flaws, but are still credited with mediating “unvarnished truth”. In photographs, subjects can be “naturally” arranged, while specific constructed and thoughtful lighting, makeup, or poses can mimic authenticity, creating a narrative sold as truth when in fact it is distorted.
In Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass”, Alice travels through the reflective plane to discover an upside-down world where everything is reversed, including logic itself. But what if “the other side” was, in fact, the natural order? What if our side – the world built around us – was the “alternate reality” that was fabricated to appear “normal”? What if the weird, inverted, or weird was actually the world we seek?
The Other Side Of The Pentaprism (re-) reflects a vision of the Caribbean as it is but is rarely seen. The six artists in this show are the pentaprism, filtering their gaze through their creative vision. Revealing a different universe while questioning the “real” we inhabit, the exhibition upends the narratives and stories that many of us have been taught, showing that norms and the status quo are truly crazy. Isn’t our accepted world illogical? A world where the homes of slavers are revered while those of slaves are forgotten, where women are valued only for their ability to serve or bear children, and where histories are not written. Rather, these artists present to us a world where people exist as more than props in a manufactured setting.