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Photography

He Views Reality in Triplicate

January 09, 1988|ROBERT LACHMAN | Times Staff Writer

Thomas Lamb takes a different view of his landscape photographs. In fact, he takes three different views.

He has developed a distinctive approach to photographs by alternating two images into an accordion-like art form. The work becomes one picture from the left, another picture from the right and a combination of the two from straight on. It creates a unique image that makes the viewer do a double take, even a triple take.

Fourteen of his works will be on display for six weeks beginning Monday at the Ettinger Gallery of the Art Institute of Southern California in Laguna Beach. This is definitely not your ordinary photo gallery show; the multifolded, mural-like artwork has incredible impact as it contrasts the nature with urban development.

The show is composed of 14 multifolded images, 12 that measure about 24 inches by 50 inches displayed in handcrafted acrylic frames and two smaller, more delicate double-image folded fans.

There will be a chance to meet the artist Friday night at a public reception.

For four years, Lamb has worked for SWA Group, a national landscape firm that has an office in Laguna Beach. He also teaches photography at Saddleback College.

With his tight schedule, Lamb has just enough time to squeeze in his artistic endeavors, which include working on his upcoming exhibition of his multifolded imagery, entitled "The California Landscape Series."

Most of the work for the exhibition was shot in California, but one of his favorite images was taken in New York. The work, "Tall Building, Tall Trees," is a striking contrast of color images--New York skyscrapers and California redwoods, both shot from low angles looking skyward.

One of the highlights of the show is "Grid Lock," a color multifolded image that combines a photograph of keys in a parking lot attendant's stand and a shot of the start of the Laguna Beach Marathon. The collection of key rings and the sea of humanity from the marathon mesh together in a colorful and striking work. "People drove up and left their keys," Lamb says.

Lamb's sense of humor comes through in such works as "Laurie Brown, Lawrie Brown," portraits of two landscape photographers with same-sounding names taken at a meeting of the Society for Photographic Education.

On the more serious side is the black-and-white work "Road, No Road," contrasting images of Laguna Canyon Road. "It blends together one photograph of the Caltrans sign announcing the San Joaquin Corridor proposal and the Laguna Beach sign opposing it," Lamb says.

Assembling and building each piece of work is an arduous task. Cutting and mounting the photos alone can take up to six hours, he says. The works are actually two images that are each printed twice, to 16 inches by 20 inches. The four prints are then cut into thin vertical strips.

Lamb then archivally mounts the vertical photograph strips to museum board, alternating between the images. The board is then scored vertically along the sides of the photographs to make the accordion-like folds.

The exhibit will be displayed through Feb. 19.

The photography column, which runs each Saturday in Orange County Life, is designed to help both the serious amateur and weekend shooter. Questions and ideas are both welcomed and encouraged by: Robert Lachman, Chief Photographer, The Times, Orange County Edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626.

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