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In Search for Meaning

From Boy Scout meetings to New Age spiritual practices, photographer Eli Durst examines the fundamental search for community in the United States.

It all started from church basements. Dull spaces meant to be functional rather than glamorous. Hidden spaces, apart from the outside world and therefore able to create a smaller circle within. From there, Eli Durst adventured into a wide variety of situations that implied group activities centred around common search. Willfully enigmatic, the photographs speak about some kind of shared energy rather than attempting to contextualize the events, letting the viewer sit with the characters’ strong, sometimes uncomfortable, need to feel closer to others and to themselves.

“I was intrigued by the figurative space that exists between the images”, writes the photographer, “the moment when one activity bleeds into another, creating a symbolic space of communal introspection. Put simply, these photographs are about the search for purpose and meaning in a world that both demands and resists interpretation.”

The exhibition “The Community” is on view at Blue Sky Oregon Center for Photographic Arts until January 28.

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