PDN Photo of the Day

David Hilliard’s Multi-frame Storytelling

David Hilliard’s new show, “Regarding Others” collects his multi-panel work from the span of his career. On view at Schneider Gallery in Chicago in a show opening today and running until December 30, the images touch on themes of desire, family, youth and aging, all employing the panoramic, multi-frame approach that Hilliard has used for many years. Presenting scenes that range from a reclining vaping nude to an older couple in a taxidermy shop, Hilliard combines views with different perspectives of the same scene, using framing and selective focus to highlight details and distinguish narrative elements. In “The Fox and the Hound,” the panel on the left shows the head of a fox mounted on a wall. To the right, a shirtless young man stands in window light, his pants unbuttoned as he drinks from a glass. The head of the fox in the first panel is angled towards the the man in the second, and seems to look at him, while he looks out at the viewer. The result is a complicated scenario of watching and being watched. Like panels from Renaissance paintings or graphic novels, Hilliard uses multiple images to tell a complex story by carefully directing the viewer. As he writes in a statement, “For me, the construction of panoramic photographs, comprised of various single images, acts as a visual language. Focal planes shift, panel by panel. This sequencing of photographs and shifting of focal planes allows me the luxury of guiding the viewer across the photograph, directing their eye; an effect which could not be achieved through a single image.”

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