Lament in the Ramp Gallery, December 20–January 6


What:Lament, disappearing photographs by artist John Steck Jr.

When: December 20, 2012–January 6, 2013

Where: The Ramp Gallery, a community curated space at 934 Brannan St. (between 8th and 9th)

Photography is often understood as a medium that emphasizes the permanence of the end product—capturing, documenting and archiving moments in time forever. In the exhibition Lament, artist John Steck Jr. draws attention to the materiality of photography and the memories it captures by allowing his images to slowly disappear.

Lament is part of a larger series of vanishing photographs by Steck in which he alters the process, exposing the artist’s hand as well as short-circuiting the archival function of the photograph.  Using gelatin silver paper, but not in the typical way, these images are created without a darkroom or chemicals. Because of this, the photographs remain sensitive to light. Some of these prints have already been exposed to light for several days, some a couple of weeks, and some hardly at all; however, in a fairly short, yet unpredictable amount of time, they all will disappear completely.

Steck uses this process as an attempt to erase particular memories. Considering the fleeting impermanence of materials, objects, images and life itself, Steck translates these ideas through a medium that is meant to act as a time capsule. Instead, Steck’s photographs slowly lament memories lost.

John Steck Jr. (American, 1980) was born in Chicago, IL, and now resides in San Francisco, CA. He earned a two-year certificate in the Professional Photography Program at The New England School of Photography  in 2006, and his BFA in Photography at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in 2010.

Steck is currently pursuing an MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute. His work has been exhibited at spaces including: The Khaki Gallery in Boston, The Vermont Photospace Gallery in Vermont, The Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery in Reno, The Hallway Gallery in Jamaica Plain, and both the Rayko Photo Center and Southern Exposure in San Francisco. He worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at The New England School of Photography from 2006 to 2008 as well as at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in 2009. Several of Steck’s handmade artist books are featured in The Indie Photobook Library and his book Fragments, Volume One was selected as Best Books of 2010 on by Larissa Leclair. His work can also be viewed here.

About The Ramp Gallery
The Ramp Gallery, a community curated space in the SOMArts lobby, accepts exhibition proposals on a continual basis. To view submission information as well as past exhibitions, please visit The Ramp Gallery page of our website here. To purchase work on display or for more information email You can visit The Ramp Gallery any time SOMArts Cultural Center is open.

Image above: “Stone Window in a Cold Building, Cold Ireland,” 2012, disappearing photograph on gelatin silver paper, 8 in. by 10 in.