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Jefferson Hayman
Catherine Couturier Gallery, Houston, Texas
Recommendation by Donna Tennant

Jefferson Hayman, "Apple," pigment print, handmade frame, 13 x 10"

Continuing through July 29, 2017

"Things I Saw Without You” is a title that, much like the framed photographs that comprise it, is tinged with nostalgia. The things Jefferson Hayman photographs range from oranges wrapped in tissue paper to an ace of spades playing card, from a man’s gray hat to a bird in flight — objects he finds in his studio or sees outside his window. The delicate tonalities of these silver-gelatin, platinum and pigment prints evoke an earlier era and could be mistaken for detailed drawings or paintings. Like Pictorialist photographers of the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, Hayman manipulates both his subject matter and the printing process, softening the focus or toning the print to imbue it with a retro-ambiance.

Hayman’s frames play an important role in his creative method, and they are an integral part of every piece. Each photograph is paired with a unique antique frame or one handcrafted by Hayman, whose attention to detail imbues each piece with a distinct persona. The works are small, which makes them intimate and highly personal. Objects are presented with minimal background information, and landscapes focus on iconic architecture like the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building or Flatiron Building. The tone is meditative, reflecting the sensibility of someone who has stepped out of the rat race and embraced a more contemplative way of life. It is fitting, then, that Hayman lives in the hamlet of Tappan, New York, which was first settled in the late 17th-century. Tappan retains much of its historic character, with dozens of buildings dating to the 1700s. The town would seem to offer Hayman the perfect setting in which to arrive at his distinctive creative process.

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