Speaking with Osheen Harruthoonyan about his photography process is like speaking with a child excitedly explaining a detailed fascination with dinosaurs. Eager to educate you on how he hand-processes each photo negative in the dark room. Painting, scratching and dabbing the film particles using a variety of chemical solutions and water applications, a process so unique that a film maker took interest and is working on documenting it. When asked if he is scared that someone will use this unique treatment he grinned wildly, saying that ‘no one would be crazy enough to do it’, and then noted that even if anyone did it would be their own interpretation.
We examined his favourite print, Swan, thoroughly. He told me that part of what he liked about the highly-distorted flower was the circular motion created when he used a syringe to draw in hot water from the immersed negative, ultimately displacing the film particles. Before we finished the interview a spectator complimented the piece saying that he liked how it drew his eye from the center out, making a hand-gesture that swooped from the middle toward the top corner. At this point, the charming and modest Harruthoonyan gave me a satisfied smile and giggled slightly at how his effect was perceived.
I caught the last leg of his show ‘Black Garden’,his 3rd featured appearance at the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography exhibit, held at Lonsdale Gallery (410 Spadina Rd). The show consists of 10 gelatin silver prints of photos taken in Armenia and Nagoro-Karabakh, a small country near Armenia. The display of the show ends tomorrow and will be available for viewing at the gallery after the show.
The Persia born (of Armenian descent), Richmond, B.C. native has lived in Toronto for close to a decade and is nominated as one of Ontario’s 5 emerging artists in the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, an award that will be announced on June 9th. As an artist with skills extending beyond experimental, contemporary photography, he is looking forward to projects involving cinema, photography and large scale international exhibitions.