A Celebration of Forgotten Places: by Sam Aslanian



"The past is never dead. It's not even past,"
-William Faulkner

On forgotten back roads and main streets across the southern United States, entire regions have been left behind by the fast pace and technology of modern day life.

What remains is "timeless, silent and still... untouched by the clamor and commotion of our lives," according to fine art photographer Sam Aslanian.

To document this striking vision of the south, Aslanian embarked on a photographic journey across those dusty byways in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana.

His images, created by using long-expired film, add to the mystique and form a series of evocative photographs that can either engulf the viewer or be utterly voyeuristic: depending on your mood.

Aslanian continues, “As always, I used my vintage 1960's and 70's film cameras loaded with long-expired film, creating a fitting marriage of technique and place — a region untouched by the 21st century, photographed by tools entirely of the previous century.”


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Be sure to attend the opening reception for Looking South on Saturday, February 7, at the Christopher Hill Gallery. The exhibition features twenty-one large and medium-format pigment prints from Aslanian's journey: all created at Dickerman Prints.

Saturday, February 7  //  3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

The Christopher Hill Gallery
1235 Main Street
St Helena, CA 95474


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At Dickerman Prints, we love collaborating with artists to create the best prints possible. While getting ready for Looking South, Sam was kind enough to share a few words about his experience here at the lab.

"Late in 2010 The Christopher Hill Gallery in St. Helena agreed to put on my first fine art photography show. After the euphoria had worn off, I had to figure out how to print my prints— some of which were as large as 40x60. I use old, expired film that is then pushed pretty heavily in the processing creating an immense amount of grain and “texture." 

The first tests done at other labs were disastrous— glassy, ugly grain with none of the beauty of my photos as I saw them. I was almost considering canceling the show, when a fellow photographer told me about Dickerman Prints.  From the very first tests that Garnell Boyd did for me, I knew that my days of wandering in the wilderness were over. 

Now I am on my 4th gallery show, and Garnell and Dickerman have become an integral final link in my fine art process. Now I just show him my original on an iPad and he takes it from there, creating vibrant images full of depth and texture."


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Meet sam Aslanian

Sam Aslanian is a longtime California resident and life-long student of photography. Holding a degree from the University of California at Los Angeles’ prestigious film school, and driven by a passion for film arts, Sam worked his way through Hollywood as both an executive producer for commercial and music video productions, and as an accomplished photographer. With his keen eye to both substance and style, Sam found success for more than 20 years in the often fickle and unforgiving industry known as Hollywood.

Wherever his adventures take him, Aslanian travels with his battered SLR cameras that are often held together with duct tape. In his bag can be found all manner of film, yes the kind the photographer loads carefully, gingerly, and spools into position in the camera’s belly.

It is a hard commodity to come by in the modern world which is both the blessing and the curse of Aslanian’s medium which is to use film deemed by others as past its prime. The film tells his story with often unpredictable results. The challenges of digital technology have made camera film practically a dinosaur, and therefore available expired film an even sweeter reward, at least to Sam, for the hunt.

Aslanian scours the likes of Paris, Rome and rural America in search of his unique photographic voice and scours the unlikely shelves of ancient film purveyors and Craig’s List to find his film.


To learn more about Sam Aslanian, visit his Facebook page.