Operated by John-Riley Harper. Dedicated to archiving photography from Utah's underground scenes, as well as other personal projects.

New Years Eve 2009 - Zeus's Chop Shop
Photos can be boring and complex at the same time. The trick is figuring out how to affect others into thinking about certain ones as the latter. I might dismiss an image and skip through it for reasons that are completely unrelated to the reason it fascinated someone else. Different ideas are for different people novel or cliche. That's why it is scary to look into a photograph for too long. You begin to get a warped sense of its importance and relevance. For example, the first image in the set (about 400 photos that evening) was picked because it had a decently interesting subject, a pretty color palette, and some background figures that struck me as "interesting enough" as well. It made the cut, but my decision was split second and hopefully matches the mindset of the average information starved peruser. It's funny, though, how big of a story can be created with the long look applied.

If we elevate it from being more than just another random party moment caught digitally, the photo can be seen as a psychological triad. The dancer caught in a prayer is clearly the subject, with alternate selves that depict not devils and angels on either shoulder, but an angel in the center stuck between the devil and the apathetic hedonist. I like how the prayer posture is similar to the moment before a diver hits water, only the splash will happen in one of two heavens above. One is a void of exploration and cold science and the other is fluffy, pink, and filled with pleasure. But both are barred, caged, and restricted (or do the walls keep the heavenly in?). One of the symbols most visually packed with information is the eye simply based on its directionality. The triad is engulfed in an odd lover's triangle. The hedonist looks randomly about; the devout peers inward; the devil maintains a pretense of ignorance. They seem to be looking at no one in particular yet are all aware of each other. The symbolism with the wrist bands and admittance - about who has paid to be there - can bring about other complex themes.

Some photographs are easier to do this to than others. And most seem to be trying not hard enough at all. But I recommend a deep look at images every now and then because it is always surprising what tasty treats they can be, even the most banal. Here's fifty from my third involvement with Zeus's warehouse, on the New Years night of 2009.

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