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 Jefferson Hayman  (20/21st century)

About: Jefferson Hayman


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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: photography

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Biography from a third party submitted on 02/26/2010:
"The import placed on materials and process is emphasized in the photography of Jefferson Hayman.  The use of negative space, filtered light and grainy tones create an ethereal aesthetic imbued with mysterious and compellingly eerie undertones. The mystifying impressions further their sense of timelessness and force the audience to contemplate and internalize.

Though the subject matter is universal and neutral in its recognizability, Hayman's rendering of materials far remove them from conventionality. The sense of history and nostalgia is most evident in his use of antique & self-designed picture frames. Using mostly mahogany, walnut and quarter-sawn oak finished with stains and dyes, his frames are either period or reflect the designs of the early 20th century & late 19th century American aesthetic.  His use of objects demonstrates a care and appreciation for raw materials, often overlooked and ignored in contemporary photography.  This attention to craftsmanship recalls the artistry and workmanship of cultures such as the Shakers whose product and designs extol function and quality. Shaker design is heralded for its clean, economic lines that unite form and function to reflect the Shaker philosophy that beauty rests on utility.

While his life and work are inexorably bound to the city that never sleeps, his photographs reflect a seclusion and solitude that induce the tranquility of a contented slumber.  His black and white series of still lives, cityscapes and portraiture evoke a nostalgic journey to an obscure and imperceptible time period. Inside his world, the viewer dreamily contemplates the comfort and resonance of the images which induce inexplicable moments of déjà vu."

Kathryn Halsey, 2006


Speaking in Languages Lost
The Photographs of Jefferson Hayman

Whether it is through their boundless depth of tone and shadow, the personalities of their distinctive frames, or their employ of archaic languages- both visual and verbal- the images of Jefferson Hayman seem imported to us from another age.

Hayman likens his work to a time capsule, or short story. Drawing upon indicators and associations from a variety of histories— of art, of photography, of New York City— he plays upon our preconceptions and quietly introduces his own techniques and symbols to the lexicon.

Titles such as New Amsterdam and The New Pyramids point to a fully developed, almost European sense of the expanse of history. In a city, country, and culture which can seem ever preoccupied with the new, the modern, and the reinvention of itself- Hayman manages to surprise us with simple details and omissions: an intruding modern billboard, a missing Chrysler pinnacle.  Others, such as Avenue speak to his transforming and poetic sensibility.

Eve Schaub, 2008

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