|Notes on NOT DARK YET||view bio|
Though the series is called Not Yet Dark, Ken Rosenthal’s enigmatic photographs are, in fact, rather dark, both literally and figuratively. The Tucson-based photographer, who worked for a time as Arnold Newman’s printer, uses bleach and selective toning to create prints that are filled with shadow and ambiguity. His initial subjects – clouds over a corn field, wildflowers, a flock of birds in flight – are lovely and perfectly innocent, but an undercurrent of anxiety runs through all of the photographs. In fact, though they don’t have any obvious connection with the events of September 11, 2001, Rosenthal began making the images in reaction to the events of that day. “Landscapes seemed to echo the sense of isolation, emptiness, insecurity I was experiencing,” he has said. “There seemed to be such an all-pervasive sense of fear and anxiety that spread throughout the country.” Those birds could almost be a squadron of fighter planes, for instance, and that house looks so small and vulnerable. At the same time, there is something hopeful and almost romantic in the photographs as well. The simple, almost universal imagery acts as a reflection of shared memories and associations that bind us together as human beings.