LIGHT, SHADOW, AND SPIRITUALITY: LAURA DICKER’S PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION

The Torah Scroll

By ELIZABETH MORALES

Laura Dicker ’14 presented her photographic exhibition at Temple Shalom, a reform Jewish synagogue in Norwalk, CT on February 21, 2014.

Her photographs depict objects related to her recent transformation to Judaism. The way the light illuminates the objects in her pictures makes the observer feel a spiritual connection with her work. The light in itself is symbolic almost as if representing Adonai.  Dicker has an eye for detail, and through her amplified lens she brings us closer to the objects and places that are important to her faith such as the Torah scroll, the Temple and the Jewish Study Bible.

When depicting the Torah scroll, she makes the viewer take a closer look as she depicts the Yad pointing to the word Moses in Hebrew. The inverted colors are used to point out Hebrew writing. But the magnified view does not let the viewer see the beginning or the end of the page, and the Hebrew words and Torah are so bright as if they belonged to the artist’s spiritual world.

The focus of Dicker’s photograph of the Temple is the light that comes through the stain glass window and illuminates the chairs and guitar that can be seen in the photograph. The light is a subject in itself as it illuminates the dark room. The light does not fill the room but gently illuminates the objects in it, thus creating a balance between light and shadow that could be interpreted as a representation of the spiritual world and the material world that coexist in the temple.

Inside the sanctuary

“Her photographs reflect the spiritual home she has found within Judaism and our community, illuminating Temple’s sanctuary, communal spaces, and ritual objects so that others may appreciate their meaning through sensitive and fresh eyes, ” said Cantor Shirah Sklar of Temple Shalom.

“Laura’s photographs speak to the passion and dedication she has to her religion and her art form. Her exploration of light and color as major elements of the images are meaningful.  They act as visual testimonials that illuminate her path and help explain to others a strong feeling of belonging to a community,” said Professor Jim Frank, a photographer and professor of Studio Art at Manhattanville College.

Dicker is a senior communications major at Manhattanville College with a minor is studio art. In addition, she has studied photography in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Regardless of the viewer’s religion, this photographic Dicker’s exhibition speaks to all through the use of light, and the presence of something that goes beyond a material existence that can be felt but not seen.

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