Book Review: I Give My Eyes… : Stories + Conversations + Dreams by Brian H. Peterson

Sea of Light #16, 2014

I Give My Eyes… is both spiritual autobiography and a story of healing and salvation. Author, artist, and museum curator Brian H. Peterson looks back on a creative life and reflects on his own search for the deeper layers, the “substrata.” In poetic prose, he ties together private and public, inward and outward journeys, struggling with the realities of advancing Parkinson’s disease while discovering an affirmation of belief that embraces suffering and doubt.

A reflection on faith, art, and Peterson’s ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease, I Give My Eyes… employs bittersweet humor, clear-eyed nostalgia. The book is a collection of interviews Peterson gave with friends and colleagues, a number of stories and prose, and even a dedication speech Peterson gave for the library and research center named for him at the Michener Art Museum. Throughout these sections of writing, photographs by and of Peterson are included.

The writing is largely conversational in style, with a fair amount of rhetoric. The interviews feel direct and present, and only lightly edited – which is refreshing to read. For anyone with a background in visual arts, there is plenty of meat to the stories and aside comments Peterson makes. He doesn’t beat around the bush much, and unabashedly talks about the process of him writing, and readers reading this book. Peterson even goes so far as to tell the reader to be careful. The reader doesn’t know him yet; maybe he is a bitter misanthrope who takes pleasure in messing with people with clever wordsmithing? This cheeky attitude in the prologue reminded me of an interview Gene Wilder gave about his role as Willy Wonka in the 1971 film. Wilder recalled for the interview how his character first appeared on screen. Willy Wonka walks slowly with a cane toward the viewer, when he suddenly vaults into a somersault, pops to his feet and joyfully continues walking with a smile on his face. Wilder said that in doing this, the viewer is forced to question whether they can believe anything Wonka does from that point forward. I don’t believe Peterson is out to deceive his readers; rather he is telling them to bring some healthy skepticism along for the ride. 

Forest Light #14


from #1, 1993-94

Peterson walks through the somber topic of Parkinson’s Disease in a generally lighthearted manner, with gallows humor thrown in for good measure. He is obviously a well educated and well informed person. His career work as a curator, arts administrator and writer shine through in his stories, and we are given the opportunity to get to know a man who has dedicated his life to the things he loves. From a visual standpoint, Peterson’s photographs evoke a feeling similar to photographic giants like Minor White, Brett Weston, and even Jerry Uelsmann; artists who made images that invite the viewer to look at the world surrounding them. Really look, be open to possibility, and be skeptical.

I Give My Eyes… :  Stories + Conversations + Dreams
by Brian H. Peterson
Due Santi Press
Hard Cover ISBN: 978-0-9990375-1-5

To find out more about Brian H. Peterson, please visit his website –
To purchase a copy of I Give My Eyes… click here.

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Roger Mayne and Bill Stephenson @ S1 Artspace

Roger Mayne, Milk delivery, Park Hill Estate, Sheffield, 1961 © Roger Mayne Archive / Mary Evans Picture Library

Roger Mayne and Bill Stephenson: Love Among the Ruins
20 July – 15 September 2018

“Love Among the Ruins: A Romance of the Near Future presents the work of two social documentary photographers Roger Mayne (1929 – 2014) and Bill Stephenson (b. 1955), who documented the first residents of Park Hill from 1961-65 and the last remaining residents of Park Hill’s sister building Hyde Park in 1988 – both landmark buildings which were the product of City Council Architect J. L. Womersley’s pioneering vision for social housing in Sheffield.

The exhibition takes its title from Evelyn Waugh’s satirical short story, which imagines a dystopian future Britain as the result of an overbearing welfare state. Written in 1953, Waugh’s story foreshadowed some of the concerns about the possible social consequences of the government’s progressive post-war approach to rebuilding the country. Including rare documents and archival material, Love Among the Ruins is a re-interpretation of Streets in the Sky, an exhibition by Mayne and Stephenson curated by Matthew Conduit at the Untitled Gallery in Sheffield in 1988. Love Among the Ruins revisits aspects of the original exhibition alongside works not previously shown and includes The Fortress, a film about Park Hill produced by the BBC in 1965 as part of its Landmarks documentary series.

Looking back to the utopian ideals inherent in the architecture of Park Hill and Hyde Park, Love Among the Ruins traces the social history of the two estates, reconsidering the 1988 exhibition 30 years on. As Park Hill is once again undergoing a huge period of reinvention following its Grade II* listing in 1998 and ongoing redevelopment since 2007, Love Among the Ruins offers a moment to reflect on the major changes that the estate has experienced historically and marks the next phase in the evolution of this landmark building.”

S1 Artspace, Sheffield

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COAST TO COAST @ L. Parker Stephenson Photographs

May 19 – July 28, 2018

“Coast to Coast, a group exhibition of photographs exploring places and themes related to the elements, uses and lures of the seaside. The images selected are by American, European and Japanese artists and date from the last 100 years. They include vintage and later gelatin silver prints, color work, photogravure, and a contemporary tintype.”

L. Parker Stephenson Photographs
764 Madison Avenue between 65th and 66th streets

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CLIFFORD PRINCE KING @ Melanie Flood Projects

Lace, Milk, 2016

June 22— July 21, 2018

Friday June 22 6-8pm: Artist Reception

“The act of archiving is an evolving process. It exists within and outside of bodies and spaces and objects. Queer archiving is an art that stretches, extends, and challenges the body and its various constructions. In regards to the black queer body, archiving can act as a mirror, a map, a space of origin, a way to ask difficult questions. In the creation of a “visual diary,” Clifford Prince King’s photographs are reflective of this process–his work acting as a way to challenge, explore, and negotiate concepts of black gay sexuality, masculinity, and community. ”

Melanie Flood Projects
420 SW Washington Street #301
Portland, OR 97204

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Light in Wartime @ Apexart – NYC

Richard Mosse, Safe from Harm, 2012

Light in Wartime
June 7 – July 28, 2018

Featuring Work By: Vartan Avakian, Allan deSouza, Ziyah Gafic, Rula Halawani Nilu Izadi, Seba Kurtis An-My Lê, David Levinthal, Richard Mosse, Jo Ractliffe, Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini

“Light in Wartime brings together photographers whose works shed new light on war, both forensically and symbolically. In a world so hounded by images of war, many of the photographers featured in Light in Wartime challenge the conventions and limitations of traditional reportage, underlining the tensions between art, fiction, and photojournalism. ”

Apexart – NYC
291 Church St, New York, NY 10013

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Constanze Kratzsch @ Gallery Castle Klempenow

Constanze Kratzsch: BEHIND THE TIME
07 July – 12 August

Opening: 07.07. at 4 pm

Gallery Castle Klempenow
96 registered association.
17089 Klempenow

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Sasha Gusov @ The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography

Sasha Gusov. Nina Kaptsova. Corsaire. London, 2016

Sasha Gusov: BIG BALLET
June 28 – September 23

“Sasha Gusov’s photos perfectly convey the dynamics and expressiveness of ballet dance. There are among them beautiful staged portraits and fascinating, finely grasped shots of rehearsals and performances. Shot on film, “on the move” and without additional lighting, they captivate with their efficiency. “Photography is documentary – it just fixing something that is happening in a particular moment,” says the photographer. And Gusov, like no other, knows how to masterfully catch these random situations. Nevertheless, he not only fixes the event, but also skillfully conveys the state of the caught instant.”

The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography
Russia, Moscow, 3 Bolotnaya emb., b.1

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Landscapes 2018 @ The Carnegie Center for Creativity

Landscape 2018 Image © Roger Grasas

Landscapes 2018
June 13 – July 7, 2018

Opening Friday, June 22nd from 6 – 8 pm

The Carnegie Center for Creativity
200 Mathews Street in Old Town Fort Collins, CO.

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23rd annual juried National Competition @ Soho Photo Gallery

“Vilma e Lourdes” ©Geralyn Shulwit

23rd annual juried National Competition
July 6, 2018 – July 21, 2018

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, July 5, 2018, from 6pm to 8pm.

“Soho Photo Gallery’s competition attracted over 2,000 images from 198 photographers from 29 states. Paula Tognarelli, Executive Director and Curator of the Griffin Museum of Photography, is our competition’s distinguished juror. Geralyn Shulwit from Brooklyn, NY, was selected as the 1st place winner for her image titled Vilma e Lourdes.”

Soho Photo Gallery, 15 White Street, New York, NY 10013

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Inge Dick @ FOTOHOF

Inge Dick − frühlings licht weiss, 2015

Inge Dick: white light
June 22 – August 4, 2018

Opening: June 21, 19:00
“Light and time have been defining constants in the oeuvre of Inge Dick for many years. And her approach has always been radically minimalistic, exclusively capturing for instance ‘white’ as the colour of light over long periods of time. She uses a wide range of media: pigment paint, Polaroids, analogue film stock and, most recently, the data stored directly on digital chips. In a setting that is itself almost clinically white, she shoots films over long periods of time that record how the light in the artist’s studio changes throughout the day. The data in turn yields large-format images through extraction and offsetting on a particular plane, with eloquent titles like frühlings licht weiss [spring light white]. Her artistic work explores light with minimalist methods that have a direct impact, with the artist’s interventions limited to a minimum of technology. Nonetheless, the films and image surfaces created are fascinatingly colour-intensive, making the experience of the actual composition of the white light highly sensuous.”

FOTOHOF / Inge-Morath-Platz 1 -3 / 5020 Salzburg / Austria

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