THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE AUGUST 2015 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE
Now on display in the PAC Members Gallery at Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Co. is a series of oceanic photographs by Jeffrey Henson. In his work, Henson explores the relationship between the winter light and the chilling cold of the water. With the beach attracting only the diehard surfers and swimmers in the winter months, the artist is able to connect with nature in peaceful solitude while witnessing the sheer force of the natural world.
Armed with his camera in a waterproof case, Henson visits the beaches of Long Island. Swimming among the surfers and waves, the artist is able to capture unique, and inspiring photographs. Follow the Light depicts the rising sun through the tube of a curling wave, a truly instantaneous moment that required a great deal of precision, timing, and a bit of luck. The photograph simulates the experience of riding the wave, as the water beings to crash onto the artist, and by extension the viewer. The relatively cool palette of the picture, consisting mainly of white, light blue, and hints of yellow-brown, further stimulates the viewer’s mind as he or she imagines a refreshingly brisk swim in the cold ocean water.
There is a nice contrast when comparing this photograph to another one in the exhibition, First Light. Here, the photograph contains vivid reds, yellows, and oranges that appear in the sun, the sky and its reflection in the curling wave. Like the previous image, the viewer finds his or herself in the tube of another wave with the rising sun situated just below the center of the composition. But unlike the pervious image, First Light captures the sun as it peaks above the horizon. The blurred reflection of color gives the water an almost metallic quality as it wraps around the artist.
Henson’s photography captures split-second moments that are almost impossible to duplicate. One such moment is found in Love, which again, was taken inside the tube of a wave. In the center of the composition, the viewer finds the beach shore, which is framed on all sides by a yellowish-white heart-shaped wave. The center of the picture is highly concentrated, with the viewer able to examine the droplets of water in fluid detail, which juxtaposes nicely against the blurred corners of the photograph. The viewer can feel the embrace of the natural world, as the wave washes over the camera lens.
Henson has had a passion for photography since childhood and has studied the subject at Manchester Community College and the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. He is a member of the Patchogue Arts Council and of the PAC Photographer’s Group.
The Patchogue Arts Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 2008 to promote, encourage, and support the arts on the greater south shore of the Town of Brookhaven. The Patchogue Arts Council and Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Company created the PAC Members Gallery at Roast in the summer of 2013 as an alternative exhibition venue where PAC members can exhibit their artwork. In addition to exhibiting artwork and brewing award-winning coffee, Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Co. hosts weekly open mic nights on Tuesdays and Fridays and a monthly poetry night on the first Saturday of every month. NY Surf: Photographs by Jeff Henson is on display at the PAC Members Gallery at Roast from July 6 – August 25, 2015. An opening reception will be held at Roast on Sunday, July 12, from 2 – 4 PM.