Acclaimed Point Reyes photographer Evvy Eisen is presenting her latest photographic essay – OYSTER FARM – through January 30 at Toby’s Feed Barn in Point Reyes. Eisen, who specializes in environmental portraits, will attend the opening reception at 1:30 p.m.
The exhibit of 60 silver gelatin portraits focuses on workers at the historic Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which is located on Drakes Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore in western Marin County. Currently the center of a land use controversy, the farm may not remain in operation after its lease ends in 2012. While opposing positions that divide the Marin community have been argued at the state and national levels, Eisen’s exhibition does not deal with the complex issues involved in these disagreements. She spent a year documenting the workers and the farm environment putting a human face on the issue. She photographs in a classic portrait tradition – using a tripod mounted, medium format camera loaded with black and white film – and creates individual silver gelatin prints in the darkroom. The exhibit is divided into three sections: portraits, photographs of the working farm and abstractions and still life compositions.
Eisen often works on long term projects which reveal the people involved in socially relevant issues. She recently completed Multiply by Six Million, a 15-year project photographing Holocaust survivors in California and France. The catalyst for this immersive project was a 1992 assignment she got to photograph four Holocaust survivors in conjunction with her son David’s eighth-grade Holocaust project. The exhibit is available online through the California Exhibition Resources Alliance with portraits from the collection and a clip from the short documentary film she created, which has been shown on the Sundance Channel.
Eisen was born in Brooklyn and educated in New York City. She has lived and worked in West Marin since 1971. Her photographs have been shown in solo shows throughout California, and along with Michael Kenna’s work in 2005. She has taught photography and was a founding partner of the Darkroom in San Rafael. Her work is in the permanent collections of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the de Saisset Museum in Santa Clara, CA and the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine in Paris, France, as well as private collections in the US and France.
Details: Toby’s Feed Barn is located at 11250 Highway One, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956. Hours: Monday- Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 10-5. Phone: (415) 663-1223
OYSTER FARM will be at the Petaluma Arts Center from March 25, 2011 – May 15, 2011.