J.K. Lavin: Mapping the History of the Moon

Full Moon Dream #6, © J.K. Lavin
Full Moon Dream #6, © 2013 J.K. Lavin

Moon River, Fly Me to the Moon, Blue Moon, How High the Moon, Bad Moon Rising, Clare de Lune, Moondance, Harvest Moon, Moonshadow. A nearly endless supply of songs named for the moon reflect our delight in a particularly striking lunar display. In Los Angeles photographer J.K. Lavin’s images, the moon has a huge presence, yet it remains unseen throughout the fourteen photographs in her exhibition opening Saturday, July 11 at Spot Photo Works in Hollywood. The moon is the lead character in the narrative, having tremendous impact on the course of events, yet it does its handiwork off-screen, out of frame.

© J.K. Lavin
Full Moon Dream #2 ©2013,  J.K. Lavin

J.K. Lavin takes to the streets deep into the evening when the full moon lights the night skies to photograph for her series Mapping the History of the Moon. With only the company of the moon as her guide and luminance, Lavin creates beautifully saturated color photographs that make us feel as though the night air is upon our skin and the incandescent window light on a porch shines through the hedge just across the street. There is a sense of home and a sense of belonging and there is the sense of observing a world just outside of reach. Someone is home, but it may not be you or I.

With the passing of her parents, Lavin wrote: “After deconstructing my family home, I stepped outside under a full moon and took a breath. I felt strangely at peace. A ritual began that night of photographing once a month by the light of the full moon. That sense of night and timelessness allows me to experience a world where I feel most at home, where in the stillness I can sense my mortality. I instinctively create the photographs that reflect what remains of the day after dark, the essence of light and life distilled into color, gestures, and liminal moments of memory and time.”

© J.K. Lavin
Full Moon Stairway ©2013, J.K. Lavin

A softness of focus that might be bothersome in many contexts, feels apropos in this case. While a subtle blur conveys the lack of ability to fully make out the details of a neighborhood at night, we also have the sense that sometimes we’re glad to let the clarity go and relax a bit. What remains is an overall languid quality, the sensation one has of taking a nightly stroll on a warm evening. Mapping the History of the Moon offers viewers a welcoming glow. You can almost smell the Star Jasmine, or hear the leaves rustling against a neighbor’s siding.

Full Moon Bungalow © J.K. Lavin
Full Moon Bungalow © 2013, J.K. Lavin

J.K. Lavin studied at The Visual Studies Workshop, New York, and received a Master of Arts degree in photography from Cal State Fullerton. Her work has been shown at Gallery 444, Palm Springs; Photoplace Gallery, Vermont and the Gallery at Roarke Art Museum, Minnesota. She lives and works in Venice, California.

Join us for an opening reception for the artist, J.K. Lavin, on Saturday, July 11, 2015, 6-9pm at Spot Photo Works, 6679 Sunset Blvd. (at historic Crossroads of the World) in Hollywood. Her exhibition will remain through September 10, 2015.  Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


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I am a photo director, editor, exhibitor, educator & artist.

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