A Collaborative Effort

Drifting through time and space, aimlessly wandering with no particular destination or purpose, traveling the world looking only for experiences and a way to voice themselves with their camera, artists Jason Giroux and Daniel Rumpf have worked together to create a seamless collaboration now on display at the Marshall Center in Centre Gallery. Their purpose, according to Giroux, is to help others see what they see, take it in and rediscover themselves and their feelings with the subtle accompaniment of photography.

The artists traveled to places such as Miami, Paris and New York to capture images now contained in the exhibit, titled “Drift.” The centerpiece of the exhibit is a merger of the portraits of the two artists. It is a testament to the interdependence of their collaboration and, in it, the work of one is indiscernible from the other.

According to Giroux, the two artists wanted to become one and make the observer understand that their work has become that of one artist.

“We wanted to get away from the idea of me and Dan,” Giroux said. “The person who took those pictures is the person in the middle. It’s the spirit of something, a product of ourselves.”

The conception of the idea for their work was simple, but the genesis of what is now “Drift” was a long, laborious operation. The artists worked together for a year to complete their exhibition, shooting frame after frame of photographs and spending hours upon hours editing.

“It was a six-month-long process that we finished in about two weeks,” Giroux said. “I knew what I was working with while developing film. I had an idea of what I wanted every time I shot pictures.”

The artists ended up with hundreds of work prints, not the final prints, but quick references to what they were working with.

“We sat down and looked through the pictures and edited each others work, Giroux said. “We matched up our pictures to see how they go together and then reversed some of them to see if they say something else with different pictures.”

Giroux added that the decision to shoot in black and white only adds to the impact of the work.

“We used black and white photography mainly to stay consistent, but also because it has more power,” Giroux said. “There’s more truth to these photographs. If you take color out you get to see what you’re really looking at.”

Though Rumpf couldn’t be reached for comment, Giroux spoke highly of his artistic partner.

“Daniel is extremely good at photography,” Giroux said. “He has an eye for nuances and hidden treasures that others don’t see. When he puts that in the square format others see them too.”

But the exhibition is also an extension of Giroux.

“Everything I ever did comes through in my work,” he said. “Not one class or thing, whether it’s experience, reading or writing hasn’t shown up in it. Everything I digested shows up in all I create.”

The theme of the exhibit, according to Giroux, is not that of just random photography. He wants his work to be perceived as visual poetry.

“I want to tell a story of the relationship between images and places. Even though the pictures were shot around the world there are many similarities,” he said. “The collection has a universal tone. We wanted people to form their own interpretations of what we were trying to say.”

And people have been interpreting their work in an array of manners.

Sunny Barbera, director for Centre Gallery, sees the theme in her own way.

“These are all the places they have been to,” she said. “It could be just one place or it could be more. They are exploring the idea of place. You don’t necessarily have to know the difference between one place and another. They take their inspiration from going out and exploring, not just taking studio shots. Their thoughts are more sophisticated.”

To Giroux, the main thought behind the exhibit is for the beholders to make their own judgments about the art.

“I think people today need some guidance,” he said. “They feel this need to be told what to do, whether it’s by advertising or parents and they have a feeling they can’t do what they want. People are absent from what’s going on around them. We want people to be able to put their face in the pictures and understand how it relates to them.”

The opening reception for “Drift” will be held Friday at 7 p.m. in Centre Gallery.