Brett Kallusky was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1975 and is currently a visiting Assistant Professor of photography at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. He received his MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2005 and his work is held in both private and public collections including the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation and Macalester College. Brett was the 2005/20006 recipient of the Miguel Vinciguerra Fulbright Fellowship to work on a photographic project entitled Viaggio con Vista in Italy. In 2010, he received a Minnesota State Arts Board Initiative Grant to continue his photographic work in Italy, and once again in 2013 to self publish a book of the project.
This project, Viaggio con Vista, or, Journey With Views, is a quintessential travel book. Taken all around Italy, Kallusky has published both in English and Italian and has been working on the collection for nearly eight years. It spans both black and white and color photos as well as polaroids of his time in Italy. Capturing riches and ruins, tourists and locals, and light and darkness, it closes with a featured essay entitled “The Touring Eye” by Christopher Tradowsky. In it, Tradowsky offers up the concept of adumbration, which completely transforms the experience of the book.
Adumbration is one of those lovely terms that contradicts itself. Much like the words buckle or cleave its very existence holds two opposing definitions, and in this case, the contradiction has a lot to do with photography, travel, and as a result, Kallusky’s work. It means to produce a faint image or resemblance, to outline or sketch, to foreshadow, but also to darken or partially conceal. To overshadow.
To reveal while also obscuring. To conceal while also uncovering.
This concept is relevant to photography, because of course, as photographers we physically outline and resemble life with light in our shutters. We work to both uncover and conceal, subtracting things out of the frame in an attempt to reveal only what we want the viewer to see. Applying this further to travel photography, the pieces being revealed and the pieces being obscured are absolutely essential for more than just composition.
The very heart of travel photography is to characterize and represent a place. And what is chosen to be included in the frame may singlehandedly conceal a truth, efface a lie, reveal a stereotype, perpetuate a myth, or present a contradiction. With destructive “voluntourism” and the after effects of apartheid and post-colonialism all serious issues facing travel today, the way a photographer represents a place can become very complicated, and very serious. Their intention is vital.
Journey with Views is such a great embodiment of adumbration. Though the work was produced in Italy, it’s not about the country. Though tourists are sometimes included, it’s not about tourism. Instead, the physical presence of light and shadows really take charge. It’s a contradiction of space, 3D appearing as 2D, flattening and teasing our vision while the changing formats of the photographs challenge the standard of having to present only a single theme. It’s this boundless essence of adumbration that is singular and fascinating, making Journey with Views something to spend some quality time with.
Review by Taylor Kigar
Title : “Journey With Views”, 2014
Size : 7.5” x 8.5” inches inches
Publisher : Self Published
Page Count : 55 Pages
Edition : 250 copies, signed