HIGH ART: Music to the eyes
Life in Jackson is full and fast. The poetry of a single beautiful moment in our staggering landscape has been captured by many a photographer, amateur and pro. The power of those ephemeral moments to stun us into the sublime abyss is in part why we choose to live here. This week Kali Ma Collado showed me equally engaging images of energy caught in time at her photo exhibit, “Music to the Eyes,” at the Pink Garter lobby.
Collado, a contracted concert photographer at the Garter, displayed a range of photos from concerts over the past year. Walking into the space I was grabbed by the emotion and force she captured in the musicians’ portraits and stage sets. One particular favorite of mine was the shot of J.D. Wilkes, front man of the Legendary Shack Shakers. A profile of Wilkes, apparently screaming and pointing into the crowd, the photo displays the aggression and charge of that particular show. I don’t remember the Shakers performance that night being as hard-core as what Collado snapped in the photo. Oddly though, I do remember the scraggly attempt at a mosh pit during the show. The collection of moshers was more like a shabby beard that just wouldn’t grow in. But that’s besides the point – the energy and history of the Shakers as a rockabilly, punk band was clearly defined in the crisp, black and white image. Wilkes’ energy riffed off the intensity we all feel in the eager, early days of Jackson summer. I love that Collado’s photo reminded me of this moment. And if you didn’t go to the show, the shot is equally interesting for it’s political and “call to arms” references.
Nostalgia is not necessary to appreciate Collado’s compositions. Many of the photos I responded to had a personal point of reference. It is easy to see that her eye comes from a place of investigating the moment or the artist’s craft rather than marketing, admiration or journalism. I got the sense that Collado is looking to find the intimacy and mystical moment of creative output – the minutia of the creative sublime – a thing easily missed in large social gatherings.
Comparing these photos to the spiritual reverie we have for landscape photography seems important to me. In the same way a great sunset can take you back to a moment of transformation or warmth or paradoxically, pain, Collado’s exhibit was a time-line of moments of energy and creativity that artists gave us here in Jackson. The information Collado caught in the musicians’ faces is one we as an audience almost always feel but don’t often see. We are caught in the moment, we are dancing, that tall dude in a beanie is stepping on us. Whatever it is, there are really only a select few front stage devotees who get to study and absorb the faces of the performers. In this exhibition, Collado gives us beautifully shot recollections and personal insight to the energy behind the art.
Photo credit: Kali Ma Collado