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All the Streets a Stage

The meticulously crafted, “enhanced reality” photographs of Clarissa Bonet reveal truth in the ephemeral.

“I’m not trying to document the city as it truly exists,” says Clarissa Bonet, “but to make an image about a feeling of a place and a moment in time.” The Chicago photographer, 30, wanders the sidewalks and public spaces of downtown, sometimes for hours on end, observing people’s comings and goings, the progression of shadows across the pavement, the play of reflected light on skyscraper façades. When she sees a striking visual convergence, or an instant of drama or pathos, she snaps a reference photo, then returns to the same spot weeks or months later—whenever she deems the light and time of day ideal—to painstakingly reconstruct the scene with actors. The resulting images have the feel of enhanced reality, or of a dreamscape, and evoke in equal measure the beauty and the loneliness of big-city life. —John Hardberger

City Space + Stray Light, an exhibition of Bonet’s photography, is on view at the Catherine Edelman Gallery through October 29. edelmangallery.com

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