In Still feel gone, Tim Carpenter brings together three distinct series of black-and-white photographs that document spare American landscapes and feature houses, roads, trees, powerlines, and other natural or built elements. Often working in central Illinois where he grew up, Carpenter draws the viewer into unassuming semi-rural situations where the most dramatic thing occurring might be the leaning of a telephone pole or a meandering crack in asphalt. There is a palpable sense of quiet and containment, and he trusts that the camera can make wonders with “the thing in itself.”
Carpenter has said, “Making photographs is all about creating relationships that don’t exist in the real world, while getting to use subject matter that clearly does exist in the real world.”
His practice continues some of the picture-making sympathies of photographers associated with the 1975 exhibition New Topographics, including Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, and Stephen Shore. Carpenter’s exhibitions and books make great use of sequencing, as he exploits small shifts in point of view, orchestrating rhythms of foreground and deep space, density and openness.
Carpenter received an MFA in Photography from the Hartford Art School in 2012, and in 2015 co-founded TIS books, an independent photobook publisher. He is a faculty member of the Penumbra Foundation Long Term Photobook Program and serves as a mentor in the Image Threads Mentorship Program. Carpenter is the author of several photobooks, among them A month of Sundays (TIS books); Christmas Day, Bucks Pond Road (The Ice Plant); and Local objects (The Ice Plant), among others.
In association with the exhibition, Carpenter will discuss his work on April 5 as one of the 2024 speakers in the Robert C. May Photography Lecture Series.
Tim Carpenter, Untitled from the series Illinois Traction, 2012, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist.