Current - Snapshots of the Almighty photos by Peter Guttmacher
This is Peter Guttmacher’s first foray into solo photo exhibition and he is grateful to Rachel and to ArtSpace for the opportunity. He has mucked around in other arts. Peter is the author of the “Legendary Films” series for Barnes and Noble Books as well as “Elvis! Elvis! Elvis! The King and His Movies.” He has gotten to go to the Oscars and to be one of those annoying talking heads (on-camera film pundits) for “Movie Magic” stateside and for the U.K.’s Granada Television’s 100-Best Movies specials. His writing for young people includes work for Chelsea House Publishers, MacMillan Publishers, Scholastic, Inc. and the Children’s Television Workshop. Peter went to graduate school as an actor and plied that trade in New York, Boston and Los Angeles, developing works with writers from the Pulitzer prize-winner Tony Kushner to the ten-year-old Angeleno, Fausto Perez (in whose play he played an aging, alcoholic, Italian gardener caught in a codependent relationship with his pet Venus Flytrap — which included both singing opera). He has recorded two books-on-tape, one of which required him to read an eight-person shoot-out in which one of the gunmen reveals her identity as a woman. He has enjoyed more meaningful work as a teacher, a tutor, and a trainer of young people and adults, specializing in writing and reading. He currently serves on the DCPS STEM Advisory board, on the advisory for WETA’s “Ready to Learn,” and for the NIH’s upcoming genomics exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. He is the host of the DCTV program, “School’s Out,” which highlights the great things going on in youthwork across the District.
“Snapshots of the Almighty” — Though I spring from rabbinic roots, I am not what you would call a religious person. Nature has always been my church. And I have come to understand that there is no artifice that we can create to match the pattern and symmetry of the natural world — or GodArt (not to be confused with the famous French film director).
That said, about 20 years ago, I was on a ‘gator boat in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Swamp when we wended our way past a stand of cypress on which someone had posted a “swamp prayer.” On one tree stood a painted, plywood cutout of Jesus — arms outstretched in welcome. About fifteen feet over was the prayer itself, on what looked like a metal road sign nailed to another tree. I took a snap with my little idiot camera and thought nothing more about it.
When the prints came back….something strange had taken place. There was now this blinding cross of light reaching out from between those two trees. And yet the sun had been at my back when I shot and there was nothing on which the sun could have reflected. Since then, I have tried to keep my eyes open. And since a couple of years later when sitting on the F Train to Brooklyn, I found myself staring across the train at little, white bearded, Hassidic rabbi, sitting sandwiched between two towering black guys in full Santa outfits with long white beards….I have started carrying a camera more often. These photos are my broadening attempt to see God’s hand where and when I can.