Joel Dallenbach: Sidewalk Stories
Denver photographer Joel Dallenbach has spent decades capturing our city in black and white, Super 8, video tape and digital formats. This exhibition features photographs selected from his expansive archive (actually, a series of rooms filled not only with film, prints and dozens of vintage cameras, but also musical instruments, records, amplifiers, and more). Dallenbach’s photos thread together his passage through the city as a series of narratives, laced with considerable humor, empathy and inconclusive narratives. With a vintage film camera always at the ready, he records the messages coded in signage, reflective storefronts and in the often edgy confrontations of daily urban life. The contact prints shown here and there beautifully illustrate how open he is to the impressions of the city as he walks, drives, and cycles–they truly are stories of his roving eye
The Myhren Gallery is pleased to offer a glimpse into Dallenbach’s Denver in celebration of the Month of Photography. Month of Photography (MOP) Denver is a celebration of fine art photography with hundreds of collaborative public events throughout Denver and the region March and April 2013.
Dallenbach recalls as an important lesson two questions once posed by a distinguished speaker to a professional photography society in Denver: “How many of you have a camera hanging from your neck right now? ….. and for the rest of you–how the hell do you expect to get a good picture tonight?”
Working in the street photography tradition, he mentions Robert Frank as a major influence–one that can be easily seen in many of the images shown here. Working uninvited in public places, clubs, bookstores, etc., he sometimes records people doing things they might not want to be seen doing. You’ll notice a few self-portraits that show him with a tremendous bruise below his eye–an injury he received after taking such a picture. Among the photos I looked at with him is a fuzzy shot taken inside a hospital. He explained that on his way into surgery to have the damage to his eye socket repaired, he kept shooting until the nurses threatened to confiscate his camera. The picture wasn’t great, but the story shows a dedication to photography that does lead to some great pictures.