Friday, September 09, 2005


See The Unseen

The Unseen is not a film, but it was conceived by Oscar-nominated filmmaker and photographer Robert K. Sharpe. Now showing at The Christian Herald Association building (132 Madison Ave, at the corner of 31 St.), The Unseen is a vivid collection of portraits depicting 18 homeless people, all assisted by the Bowery Mission in NY (a charitable organization that offers more than 500 meals a day, every day of the year to the needy and homeless). Each subject in Sharpe's photos is shown reaching through an ornate wooden picture frame. In describing his exhibition, Sharpe -- who has written and directed many films for the United States Information Agency and the Office of Economic Opportunity and was nominated for an Academy Award for Before the Mountain Was Moved, a feature documentary about the devastation that strip mining inflicted on people's lives in Appalachia -- said "I have chosen to photograph them as individuals, each in their own frame, from which, one day they will hopefully escape." The exhibition combines these magnificent photos with a one-page reflection from the subject on his or her life. The resulting combination of image and words is a work of tremendous humanity from a filmmaker who has now chosen to have his audience see his subjects in perpetual freezeframes. How long can we look before we turn our heads away? See The Unseen. You will be happy you did.

This is the beauty of art. Whether it be photography, film or written work art has the power to stop us in our tracks and make us look at something we've seen hundreds of times a little bit differently. Art can cause us to rethink a subject and can cause us to change a behavior, thought or attitude. Art such as this has the potential to move people to compassion.
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