essay by david s. rubin

Whether traveling to a foreign land, wandering through a neighborhood market to shop for food, or engaging in convivial conversation with a friend at his home, David Halliday is easily charmed, intrigued, excited, or amused by all that surrounds him. An artful documenter of life, Halliday uses his camera as a tool for recording the multitudinous special moments that capture his attention. Once in the darkroom, he editorializes his finds, subtly embellishing each image until it somehow evokes the sensation that led him to photograph a subject in the first place.

With the exception of a series of platinum print portraits, Halliday produces all of his photographs as sepia toned silver gelatin prints. Both processes are highly traditional and, in requiring that the artist avoid the use of any color other than sepia, they stand in sharp contrast to splashier modes such as Cibachrome, Polaroid, or digitally produced Iris prints […]. For Halliday, the warm tones afforded by age-old processes reflect his desire to reclaim the past or cherish the present in the form of soft, tranquil, frozen moments in time.

Concurrent with his preoccupation with objects and still life arrangements, Halliday has photographed a considerable range of landscape settings, having travelled not only to Tonga, but also to such varied locales as Portugal, Iceland, Indonesia, and Ireland. Additionally, the Louisiana countryside not far from his home in New Orleans and the beaches of Massachusetts, where he has friends and family, has provided him with endless stimuli for his camera's lens.

Establishing intimate connections with his subjects has always been important for Halliday, whether photographing the exotic residents of Tonga or youthful high school bands preparing for the annual Mardi Gras in New Orleans. As with objects or places, he photographs the inhabitants of the planet with unbridled reverence for the beauty and value of life. And lest time pass too quickly, Halliday will continue to use his camera to slow it down ever so much…just enough to freeze it for eternity.


This is an excerpt from an essay by David S. Rubin for the catalog of the exhibition
When Time Stands Still at the Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, July 13 - September 15, 2002.



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