Manfred Buchheit at COOP (112 Scollard), part of Contact, to May 29. 416-963-3131 Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Take an old 16-inch round sweeping container, a 16-by-20-inch paper negative, a recycled black photo-paper bag and a bicycle inner tube, put them together and you have the makings for a pinhole camera capable of photographing the impossible. No one could photograph today the Newfoundland of the late 1970s that Manfred Buchheit has on exhibit at COOP Gallery.
With exposures ranging from six to 10 minutes, they represent time caught on film, not moments.
You can see it in the water beside the ocean liner. It looks calm because the waves rocked all through the exposure, resulting in a straight line on the negative. You can also see it in the ghosts that formed as people walked into the photograph halfway through.
The place itself changed as well. The narrows, flacks, fishing trawlers and boarding houses in the forefront of his images no longer exist. Newfoundland as he knew it has been erased. The stillness in Buchheit's imagery both haunts and intrigues the viewer.
The show is worth checking out both for technical oohs and ahhs and for the tones, perspectives and visual details in the images.
Buchheit's work is head and shoulds above the other artists' hanging at COOP. Matthew Wolchock's black-and-white works "without agenda" are way too static, and Alex Turner's digital montages are colourful and technically interesting but they have zero emotional impact on the viewer.