Exhibit reveals a ‘Delicate’ balance 

Photography, besides allowing people to freeze time, furthers a human craving — voyeurism. Think of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s 1945 Life magazine photograph of a sailor kissing on a nurse on V-J Day, or Hank Walker’s picture of Robert and John F. Kennedy facing each other in a hotel room. The potency of these images largely stems from the subjects’ not knowing anyone is watching.

Similarly provocative photos are on view in "The Delicate Triangle" at Aftermodern gallery in San Francisco. Images by Anoush Abrar, Lucy Levene and Ted Partin directly confront the viewer, while exploring an ever-so "delicate triangle": the relationship among subject, photographer and spectator. All three artists are among the most promising young photographers featured in an international exhibit and book called "reGeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow."

Though highly stylized and touting a gorgeous color palette, Abrar’s photos of women from around the world trying to "make it" in Los Angeles, are captivating, more surreal than real, and rather tender.

"Miki" features a stunning raven-haired woman in her living room. Instructed to wear whatever she wanted, Miki chose a red metallic bikini and clear stilettos. She’s seen seated in the living room of her Craftsman-style home with her Chihuahuas, a yellow blanket thrown over the couch, and presumed knock-off Tiffany lamp on a nearby nightstand. Reminiscent of David Lynch’s "Mulholland Drive," this picture is contradictory and almost absurd, yet it expertly mirrors real life.

Though she identifies herself as not having strong religious beliefs, London-based photographer Lucy Levene explores her Jewish roots with the second phase of her ongoing series "Marrying-In (Please God By You)."

In this series, Levene is photographed in the homes of her many dates — all of whom are Jewish — standing next to her date, looking directly into the camera, even holding the camera’s cable, showing that she’s the one snapping the picture.

"I wanted to look like I had been parachuted in," Levene said.

A social experiment of sorts, Levene’s decision to force the issue of her Jewish background is captured, but rather than being drawn in, the viewer feels shut out, like the aloof partner in the photograph.

Partin uses 19th-century technology to shoot thoroughly modern scenes of life.

His black-and-white photos are captured with a view camera equipped with accordion bellows and a cape to throw over the body of the photographer. The technique effectively removes spontaneity from the process, an interesting result giventhat most of Partin’s pictures look spontaneous.

Despite the quaint technology, Partin’s photographs are gritty, seedy and completely modern.

In "Brooklyn 2006" a dark-haired, dark-eyed woman stands naked behind a television, her unwavering stare penetrating the camera.

"I am interested in that direct contact and the person being photographed and confronting that," Partin said.

The Delicate Triangle

Where: Aftermodern, 445 Bryant St., San Francisco

When: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays; closes May 12

Contact: (415) 512-7678 or www.aftermodern.com

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Staff Report

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