Past the intimidating metal gate and high walls that give Buckhead's Galleries of Peachtree Hills its fortress-like air, down a stretch of equally imposing retail spaces and galleries, nestled in a discrete, nearly hidden corner is a surprisingly welcoming photography gallery: Davis Waldron.
Though relatively young to be helming their own gallery, Melanie Davis, 30, and Ashley Waldron, 28, are old enough to know what they like. Both studied photography at the University of Georgia, where they met. Their taste runs toward black-and-white photographs of objects and places imbued with an aura of timelessness. In the photographers they represent and the images they choose, the gallery owners clearly revere the eternal in a medium associated with speed and brevity. Their artists tend to cling to film and employ ancient techniques such as pinhole photography rather than explore the vanguard of digital manipulation.
"A lot of things we're drawn to have that abstract, ethereal, grainy feel," says Waldron, a slim, dark-haired woman with a lilting, soft voice but a strong, certain vision about what makes photography work.
While the photography currently commanding the attention of high-end art magazines and Chelsea galleries is large-format, in color and often digitally manipulated, the work at Davis Waldron comes from an entirely different place. Old-fashioned? Classic? Traditional? Maybe all of those, but certainly more inclined to look to the past and to the ancient forms of drawing and painting than what's hot on the current photography scene.
"If there's something that really pulls them all together," suggests Waldron of the "house" style, "it's that I really appreciate the investment of a lot of time and thought in creating an image."
The work of the 11 core artists currently on view at the gallery is best typified by David Burdeny's "Beach Pool," in shades of gray and black. The characteristically dreamy image features a water's-edge pool fading into the ocean beyond. Like so many of the images, the eye is drawn into the picture space, encouraged to roam and imagine.
Many of the photographs were taken in far-flung places: Cumberland Island; Rapallo, Italy; Sea Island; a French chateau. But the subject matter evokes journeys, too, in the vast spans of water, distant horizons, a wooden boardwalk or ocean pylons retreating into the distance.
New Work Through Feb. 15. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Davis Waldron. 678-539-6116. www.daviswaldron.com.
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