Displaying his first major exhibit, Greg Garner’s “X2” at 9WG Studios, features 31 doubly exposed pictures of Richmond landmarks and junkyard decay, half in black and white and half in color. Garner is a trained musician, earning his Bachelor’s in Music Composition from VCU, but it all changed for him in 2009 when he first bought a digital camera.
“I’ve always been curious about photography,” Garner said. “I was volunteering for the Richmond SPCA, and I used that as kind of an excuse to buy a digital camera, and I tell you, it was like the skies opening up.”
Photography has become the forefront for Garner’s creative expression, though he does miss paying respects to the music avenue that offered him an outlet for so many years. “I made a couple of soundtracks for television programs a few years back. One made it to the pilot on the History Channel, and the other never quite made it to PBS,” he said.
After discovering a new love for his new digital camera, Garner immersed himself in his hobby even further, buying a few more cameras, ones with film. “I got excited with what I could with film, not that I prefer it over digital,” Garner said on his preference. “X2” features film photos only, so his artistic taste remains apparent.
Although this will be his debut at 9WG Studios and first major exhibit, his artwork hangs in other places around town like Davis & Main and Pine St. Barber Shop.
Garner heard that 9WG Studios was accepting submissions, so after curating his own work to fit a core theme for an exhibit, he sent off his work. “Once I heard they were accepting submissions, it only took me two or three months to get all the photos together,” he said.
“X2” features a staggering 31 photos.“The exhibit’s name is a play on the technique used for all of the pictures, double exposure,” Garner said. “Half of them are in black and white, and the other half is in color. For the black and white photos, they were all taken around 2012 inside junkyards. The one outside Fredericksburg is really cool about you just showing up to take photos. For the color photos, I cross-processed them like print negatives with the double exposure. This technique is used to make the colors much richer.”
Garner’s creative process was fascinating to indulge. “One of the featured photos is of the Richmond Dairy, the milk bottle apartments. I’d take a photo with the focal image in the corner, then I’d turn the camera so that my thumb rests underneath on the shutter and take the photo again with the focal image in the same corner. This helps highlight the negative space, and if you have some clouds in the sky, it’s that much better,” Garner said.
The exhibit also features Richmond landmark Main Street Station (main photo), along with Todd’s Lofts, the Art-Deco-style Model Tobacco Building, the John Marshall Building, and the Richmond Police headquarters.
“X2” will be on display at 9WG Studios at 9 West Grace Street until the end of September.