Eye fidelity

Our fourth annual Bay Area Photo Issue highlights sharp-eyed local visionaries


This year, the Guardian's photo issue brings you something new, takes you out for a wild night on the town, and gets sexy in bed — not necessarily in that order.

The six photographers showcased in our annual collection of Bay Area visions include a trio of young artists with new visions of portraiture. Cover artist Dean Dempsey mixes realism and artifice to reimagine a personal history involving lost limbs. The photos of Amanda Lopez and Parker Tilghman are supercharged by a love of California and of queer life, respectively. The issue's other three artists — Seza Bali, Sean Desmond, and Katherine Westerhout — reveal otherwise unseen (and in at least one case, tricky) beauty within the local landscape.


Seza Bali

Highway 1 Overlook (from "New Landscapes"), 2010, archival pigment print, 16" x 54"

ABOUT THE PHOTO With this body of work, I combine traditional photography and digital technology to create images that speak of fabrication, illusion, and truth in photography. Questioning photography's nature of representation, the images explore the ideas of real versus imaginary, scenic beauty, and the sublime. Oceans get stretched; land masses change orientation, disturbing the landscape's passive quality. By expanding and collapsing space and changing the perception of the real, I create a new experience of a place. I am interested in this construction of impossible lands to speak of fantasy and to challenge the viewer's beliefs about the existence of these places. By creating these idyllic and unconventional scenes, I search for the true meaning of landscape: a place mysterious and unknown to me.

CURRENT/UPCOMING SHOWS "Counterpoint 2010: Approximating Truth," through Aug. 21. Togonon Gallery, 77 Geary, second floor, SF. Reception: Thurs/5, 5–7 p.m. (415) 398-5572, www.togonongallery.com. "Root Division's Ninth Annual Art Auction," Oct. 21. Root Division, 3175 17th St, SF. (415) 863-7668, www.rootdivision.org.



Dean Dempsey

The Director ("Artifice" series)

Hand/gun ("Fragmentations" series), both 2010, transparency in light box, 36" x 24"

ABOUT THE PHOTOS I'm showing from two bodies of work that share parallels in biographical history to examine personhood, normality, and social agency. In "Artifice," I create an alienated, othered person as a way of discussing hybridity and gender in the context of the viewer's gaze, exposing paraphernalia of process and production while simultaneously staging unreal and slightly grotesque figures. In "Fragmentations," I anatomically deconstruct the body as discourse of origin and paternalism to retrace sights of trauma. Both series are ongoing, and I'm expanding on them in unison to construct a wider and interrelated narrative.

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