Bruce Jackson (b. 1936), Grain, September 18, 2011; Color photograph, Courtesy of the artist

Bruce Jackson Being There, Grain Elevator 2011

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Throughout the run of Being There: Bruce Jackson Photographs 1962-2010, the artist is sharing some of the stories behind his photographs.Being There is on view until June 16, 2013. The catalog accompanying the exhibition is available at The Museum Store at the Burchfield Penney.


I've taken about 12,000 photos of Buffalo's grain elevators. The first one was in 2009; the most recent a few weeks ago. I find them fascinating in a lot of ways, one of which is how their geometry is continually redefined by the position of the sun: the same surface at a different time of day or different time of year seems to be another surface entirely. So a lot of my elevator photographs are as much about light itself as they are about those astonishing structures.

Like this one, which is among my favorites. I took it September 18, 2011. I was standing on the dock alongside Perot Elevator looking across the Buffalo River at the Standard Elevator. My eye was caught by the curving deep black lines, which I realized had no substance whatsoever: they were artifacts of the light and the curvature of the silos. They are the shadows of the bars running horizontally across the tops of the black curves. So the most beautiful thing in that picture isn't "there" at all. I took three pictures with a Hasselblad H3D Les Krims had lent me. Only this one had the geometry right. A few minutes later, some clouds moved in and it was all gone.

-Bruce Jackson