Mark Dannenhauer Photos: Many Faces of Art and Activism
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About the photographer: Mark Dannenhauer
For a long time I considered photographers to be parasitic low-lifes. The photographer’s subjects put out the energy, the sweat, plying their whole body. The photographer clicked a finger and called it a day. That may still be true. But now I am one.
I started out on the other side of the lens, performing extensively indoors and out, in formal theaters and informal spaces. With the Bread and Puppet Theater I toured globally to 15 countries at venues including the streets of Caracas and New York, the Royal Palace of the Netherlands, the national theaters of Cuba and Iceland. With my own group Ninots, I toured locally to 70 Massachusetts cities and towns and 80 Boston neighborhood sites. I’ve played in bars, churches, colleges, correctional institutions, festivals, housing developments, libraries, malls, museums, parks, parking lots, schools, streets, and even theaters.
Now, in my camera’s viewfinder, all the world’s still a stage, just tinier. Since I’ve already done the theatrical thing, with the crews, the lights, the crates of gear, I’ve no urge to do that photographically. I prefer a minimum of gear, a way of making pictures that, like jazz, is an art of spontaneous composition. Immersed in the swirl of a performance, sporting event, or landscape, can I spontaneously compose an image melding the many stories, shapes, and rhythms into a coherent whole, all in a fraction of a second, the click of a finger? Maybe there is something to this photo stuff.
Like my performing, my images inhabit a variety of formal and informal spaces indoors and out: airport (international arrivals lobby, Logan International Airport), bridge (Meridian Street, Chelsea and East Boston), park (Condor Street Urban Wild), public buildings (Boston and Chelsea City Halls, Orient Heights branch library), restaurant (Redbones, Somerville), store window (Inside-Outside Gallery in a CVS storefront window), and even galleries Antioch University New England Gallery (Keene, NH), Atlantic Works Gallery (East Boston, MA), Plainfield Community Gallery (VT), Woodshed Gallery at the Bread and Puppet Museum (Glover, VT).
My work has been supported by the Chelsea Creek Restoration Partnership, National Endowment for the Arts, National Park Service, New England Foundation for the Arts, and viewers like you. Clients have included the Bread and Puppet Theater, college athletic departments, the International Puppetry Conference, Mary Curtin Productions, Roger Tincknell Music, and private collections. My work has appeared in print in The Puppetry Journal and Puppetry International and online in the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, mileSplit MA, and numerous organizational web sites.
I studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Stan Grossfeld and Ansel Adams Award-winning photographer Gary Braasch. I have a B.A. in Fine Arts from Earlham College and an M.S. in landscape interpretation from Antioch University New England.
Recent work may be seen here: http://markdannenhauerphotography.zenfolio.com/
Archived work is here: http://www.ninots.smugmug.com/