David Einung’s window shots make San Luis Obispo look like a foreign city on arainy day. As if in a dream, images appear transparent; a mishmash of objects and people seem superimposed.
Many people take photos as a hobby, but few get a chance to show their work, especially in a one-man exhibit.
Einung signed up two years ago to have his photos featured at The Photo Shop, and since that time has been working on his particular technique for the event.
He uses a specific Photoshop filter to get the desired result.
“Every time I do this, I see details, things I didn’t see, in the original photograph,” he said. “I’ve flattened the images so things in the background all have the same intensity.”
He emphasizes that he does no color manipulation, nor does he use high dynamic range, although the camera is equipped with that option.
For his inaugural exhibit, he is offering 24 photographs in a range of subjects. He uses a Canon PowerShot SD IS to capture scenes from the area. His visual appetite reveals a nostalgic sensibility, as he shoots memorabilia, old brick, aged wooden sheds, and rusted abandoned trucks.
“My stuff started with the windows in San Luis Obispo,” said Einung.
His “Window Studies” not only show storefront windows and what is behind them, but capture reflections from the streets and sidewalks as well, a cornucopia of color and images. It isn’t clear if the point of view is from the interior or from outside.
Einung’s method allows him to observe things that he hadn’t noticed in the original photographs, and he enjoys that thrill of discovery.
“A lot of times, photos are based on composition,” he said, but in many of his shots, he intentionally avoids that, focusing on his take on reality. “Reality isn’t a story, it doesn’t have a composition. It doesn’t have a neat ending,” he said. “If it looks like a postcard, I’m not interested. I can buy a postcard.”
The multiple and somewhat chaotic images of his window shots provide no particular place for the eyes to land. But it’s intentional, according to Einung.
“It challenges you to look at the whole picture,” he said. “You just want to look at everything.”
He does take composition into consideration for most of his photos, however, such as “Feed & Grain.” The shot includes some irony, as the modern cars parked in front could be taken for livestock awaiting a meal. His “Red Chrome” also shows strong composition, with a diner’s kitchen, vintage stools, the edge of a table, and a back door open to an alley. “Heavy Frame” is shot through a hollow square of construction material on a railroad car, framing a house in the background.
A custom-home designer for 35 years, Einung spent 25 years in Cambria before moving to San Luis Obispo 10 years ago.
“I’ve always loved it here,” he said. “I consider it to be the center of the universe.”