Don McKenna

Through four decades, Don McKenna has pursued the “narrative possibilities of a place or thing”. He accomplishes this in a number of ways. First, he uses a 4×5 film camera that slows his process down. The large format film makes him more contemplative of what he encounters and makes his compositions more considered. The deliberate action of taking pictures means that his viewing is less tethered to the mechanical aspects of the camera and more harmonized to the process of engaging visually and emotionally with a place. Second, he is sensitive to the theatre of buildings, or to put it another way, the fact that a building is a stage where human actors perform the drama of their lives. He looks for the traces of these lives lived, which in his photographs reverberate a familiar quality that the viewer can always recognize, if not always summarize. Very simply, McKenna’s photographs present the stage after the performance has ended in a way that echoes, alludes to or commemorates what has occurred there.