Internationally exhibited Hawaiian-born, Christy Lee Rogers is the FotoFocus Biennial item at Miller this month. Her large format water medium photography prints fascinate as they bloom/explode/undulate organically on the gallery walls. Experimenting with the figure, water and lighting over several years, her elemental concepts came together as she succeeded in breaking the conventions of contemporary photography.

The Echo of Silence 48 x 36

One can identify in this limited exhibition several phases of direction. There is the single figure with drape element, dramatically highlighted in the dark water, emoting a striking romantic pulse. This writer reflected on the highly contrasted lights and darks as being reminiscent of the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio.

Consider the colorful multiple figures cavorting with strips of drapery and ribbon. Faceless floating beings, lightblasted and fragmented, are dissolving in swirls of colorful diaphanous drapery. Ribbons and floral chips of color hint at a bacchanalian festivity, reminiscent of a Rubens’ painting, as nude thighs almost touch and hands clasp in the partially revealed aquatic dance. Some figures are revealed more fully, composed as couples in a floating romantic interaction. As the free form draperies surround and indiscriminately obscure them, an imaginative narrative or a surging abstraction plays in the mind of the viewer. We are mystified and thrilled at the same time.

The Conception of Light 36 x 54

Christy also displays a selection of colorful abstract patterns, repeat printed in a kaleidoscopic still form.

Christy reveals that she does strategize her plan for each session which are usually scheduled after dusk. Christy describes her shooting process as actually very simple. She works with her models, her husband and the brilliant lighting. Christy strives to capture the human struggle, realistically relevant considering that the models are holding their breath while improvising in the unforgiving water. The models graceful gestures amid cascades of escaping breath belie the vulnerability and fragility of human being in the aquatic environment. She also photographs the upper layer of the pool with a strong light. Her photo work turns on the phenomenon of refraction. The direction and movement of light in low density air is contrasted with the same light delving into the heavier density of H2O resulting in a measurable bending of the light wave. Instantaneous movements are also experimentally syncronized with specific shutter speeds, for instance, maximizing  the light exposure with the delayed shutter. While dealing with the real elements of the shoot, Christy states that she feels that her aesthetic process is organic in every way, struggling to capture a statement of vulnerability amid fleeting, flowing beauty.

Beauty and Her Sister Truth 36 x 48


I thoroughly enjoyed this marriage of figure and photography for many reasons. It is a fresh approach to the figure with an updated aesthetic. I also applaud it’s contagious joyousness which uplifts the spirit.


–Marlene Steele teaches and paints in Cincinnati Ohio







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