“Further Confessions” photo project puts fursuiting in an art gallery, and does FUN right.
by Patch O'Furr
“Further Confessions” gallery opening
Canessa Gallery in San Francisco. November 7, at 7PM – 708 Montgomery Street.
Portraiture of fursuiters can be tough to pull off with as much energy as in person. That’s why I love promoting “Street Fursuiting,” and candid photos of it.
Fursuiting appeals when it engages viewers to interact. It’s animated and tactile. Staging their play can dull that down. Less-successful efforts can look like a diorama of stuffed toys. Cartoony suit design may not blend with surroundings, turning long views into eye-straining barf.
But no matter how they’re executed, they make memories with meaning to those who were there. If you’re furry, you get it. Art for the uninitiated is just a different purpose.
Ron Lussier’s “Further Confessions“ project overcomes the “stageyness” barrier in a compelling way. He juxtaposes portraits with personality expressed in hand-written statements. They reach through the frame, and greet you as personally as a hug. This stuff does FUN right. I have to say it’s the best fursuiter portraiture I’ve seen, and I think it’s an honor to have Furries featured this way in an art gallery.
Fursuiters are invited to the opening!
Ron has arranged changing / storage space and bottled water for the suiters, and of course wine and food for everyone. What a great opportunity to mix fans and the “serious” art world! Contact Bay Area Furries at BAF@Fur.com to ask questions about meeting, or find them on Meetup.com. There will be a furmeet for street fursuiting coinciding with the show – we’ll do a “crawl” downtown starting around 6-7PM, getting to Canessa Gallery around 8PM.
Ron sent me this message:
“I’ve been working on a project that it tentatively called ‘Tribes’ until I find a better name. Here is my artists’ statement.”
I’ve become obsessed with the tribes that have formed because of the internet’s existence. Whether these are burners or furries, gamers or bronies, they are creating dynamic tribes around a common passion. My latest photos anthropologically survey these tribes, gathering moments and folklore to help us understand and adapt to their emerging cultures.
For a long time I photographed places that people had left. People frighten me. They are emotionally messy and complicated, and I am always worried that I will do or say something horribly wrong, and that I will be driven from society. The tribes project is my way of forcing myself to confront my fears & interact with people. And in doing this, I’ve come to love every one of the people I’ve photographed. I love the force of their personalities, their honesty about who they are, and the fervor with which they pursue their passion.
“As an aside, I’ve always loved Irving Penn‘s tribal photos. Using only a simple cloth backdrop, he would photograph the people of the earth isolated from their environments. The resulting photos are beautiful, and leave you wanting to know the subjects more. I wanted to do this for modern tribes, but in modern color. I was also wary of showing the people I photographed as ‘freaks’ to be ogled… I wanted to show them as people. That’s why I ask the folks I photograph to write a short message in their own handwriting, and include that message in the photograph. You not only get to see the furry, but see them thinking, see their personality, which (I hope) builds a connection between the viewer and the subject.”
I’ve been photographing since 1985. I returned from college to comfort my parents after a fire destroyed my family home. My father handed me his camera to take some photos to document the damage for the insurance company, and I spent the next few hours taking carefully composed (and utterly useless) shots of the details of destruction… the tip of a charred beam, a blistered pesticide sprayer as seen through a hole burned in a wall, a perfect pile of ashes. That’s when I first started seeing the world around me as art, as moments of time to be frozen.
I love travel, and I’ve been travel blogging on lenscraft.com since before the word ‘blog’ existed. I’m a staff photographer for the Burning Man organization, where I started shooting my current ‘tribes’ series of portraits. My work has been featured in several galleries as well as the Monterey Museum of Art’s “Best New California Photographers” show.
See more: Ron Lussier / Lenscraft – fine art photography from Sausalito, CA.