Derry and Bear: Bright Lights, Dark Shadows

poster-1bDerry McMahon and Bear Silvershade are a couple I first got to know via the Seanchai Library SL. As well as being skilled with the spoken word, both reading and acting, they’re also skilled photographers, albeit with very different styles.

Where Derry’s work is full of vibrant colour, Bear focuses on monochromatic / greyscale images of Second Life. While Bear most often tends to centre on the landscape as a whole, Derry draws in more closely into focal points for her images, although this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule for either of them. Thus, they contrast yet complement one another in their work.

As noted photographers, they have shared exhibit space in SL in the past, but Bright Lights, Dark Shadows, which opened on Saturday March 22nd, at the Timamoon Arts gallery, is rather special, as Bear explains:

This isn’t the first time I have exhibited with my partner Derry, but it is the first time we have done so on this scale and purposefully setting out to contrast our very different styles.

Although our styles differ in the extreme, many of the images in this show were taken at the same time on the same sim as we explored Second Life together.

Bright Lights, Dark Shadows
Bright Lights, Dark Shadows

That many of the pieces were taken within the same region and the same time, such is the difference in their approach to composition that it is not always immediately obvious – something Bear himself notes. However, this further serves to underline the character of their respective work. Individually, the pieces selected for this exhibition each tell a story of their own; when presented together like this, the two styles combine much like different voices in a chorus; both playing off one another and amplifying the other, all the time fusing into a harmony of light and colour, and grey and white.

Bright Lights, Dark Shadows
Bright Lights, Dark Shadows

Pieces in the exhibition are simply but effectively displayed over the two floors of the gallery, with plenty of room to wander and admire, or to sit and contemplate. The latter is appropriate, given Bear states his goal with his imagery is “to create an emotional response from the viewer – if one of my images make you cry, laugh or just think, I’ve done my job.” Derry, meanwhile focuses on trying to make her images look as real a possible, stating, “I love it when someone asks if the picture was taken in real life.” Given both of these goals, there is much to admire here, and having space to sit down and study encourages one to tarry and give all of the pictures their due attention.

Bright Lights, Dark Shadows
Bright Lights, Dark Shadows

This is an evocative display by two talented photographers, and one I have no hesitation in recommending to people to go and see. To Derry and Bear themselves, I’d like to say just this: congrats on a marvellous exhibition and happy “double rezday” to you both 🙂 .

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