In Bill Sosin’s recent work he continues to use the further optical veneer of his car windows, taking the technicolor voyeurism inherent in his prolific City Rain series to a more oblique, meditative place.
Inverting the color of the imagery he collects from his odysseys around the city of Chicago, has lent them new meaning. As in Kirlian electrophotography — where a photographic plate subjected to an electric field generates colored haloes through barometric pressure, humidity and temperature — Sosin’s diffused everyman figures, with help from shallow focus, reveal their own energy force.
Rainfall still adds its anthropomorphic drama but Sosin has become preoccupied with the abstract humanoid shapes he calls “Proper Souls,” common folk unknowingly enveloped in their thermodynamic essence.
A longtime devotee of eastern medicine and philosophies, Sosin merges his belief in the energetics of natural pharmacopeia and other holistic systems to a blue collar Midwestern attitude that appreciates ordinary citizens existing in their own space, or “appropriate, concentrated moment of thought and action,” as he sees it.
Suddenly a man standing stoically waiting for a bus, exudes singularity, his aura blending with or rejecting the natural forces around him, and isolated commuters transmute into majestic pillars of salt.
Driving around Chicago in a downpour I had glazed over momentarily at a stop light as the droplets of rain gathered on the windshield and the chromium vapor of the streetlamps blurred behind them. I let the cinema window of the car become obscured with the pebbles of water and then photographed them. What started haphazardly became an obsession and I have now captured hundreds of these images. Generally the texture of the precipitation is kept in focus, and the shape, weight and direction of the droplets can change according to windflow and the severity of the rainfall. Activity in the city streets is set in shallow focus behind this. Neon fluorescence and radiant red light from car brake lights are common themes, but more abstract and suggestive patterns are created by silhouetted pedestrians hastening along with pendulous umbrellas. The pure refractions of light are blurred into kaleidoscopes or minimized to retain narrative detail.
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