Danny Turcotte: Dreaming the Drama of One Moment

Curatorial Statement and installation by Alex Maeve Campbell

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Installation shot from Profiles 2012.

You will not walk away from a Danny Turcotte photograph having felt nothing or experienced nothing. There is a certain drama to his photographs that elicit an emotion, of one kind or another, in the viewer. Whether the image captured is a person, a vegetable, or home furnishings, whether the setting is natural or staged, the visuals meet your gaze with one of their own, and it is one you will not soon forget.

Danny is a photographer who constructs stories around his images, but they are stories that you, as the viewer, will only ever physically see one mere moment of. This is the moment, the right moment, img_0033he seems to set out to capture — that moment that has the ability not to tell the whole story but to give the right hint of it. That one moment captured in a photograph is the one that dares the viewer to guess at the story, to see it in their mind’s eye, or perhaps to write it themselves.

img_0029These photographs are a little like images from dreams. You remember and see one striking image; you carry it with you, and yet it speaks to you as if from outside of yourself. You can take it at face value but something in its quality it begs you to dig deeper, to discover the rest of that story and what its narrative means. You, as the viewer, perceive this one symbolic thing that, like a dream image, can be interpreted almost interminably.

img_0031For me, this brings to mind a passage from Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams about the “navel” of a dream, a place where it “straddles the unknown,” a dense place in a dream where the “dream-wish rises like a mushroom out of its mycelium.” The photographic moments in time that are captured by Danny’s camera and presented to us as viewers are like the central images of dreams we might have had, out of which almost endless interpretations can be born. Yet, the original image always remains. The image is memorable, the feeling it produces is equally so.

img_0035Danny is an experimenter and a storyteller. He works in portraiture, still life, light painting, and more, but with each experimentation he brings the viewer a clear sense of his dramatic focus. His images capture the divine, the natural, the haunting, and the symbolic. The photographs could often also be described as beautiful, because they are, but the last thing he wants to create is just another “nice photograph.” He seeks to create a mood, capture the nature of our minds, and illuminate (literally and figuratively — he often makes use of strong lighting) the everyday world around us. These are images you will remember because they become stories, stories that are told by you.