For most people, operating a camera is a technical skill. For photographer Bill Starr, it's a physical challenge.
Due to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, his fingers on both hands are dislocated at the knuckle. But that doesn't stop the 51-year-old from taking beautiful pictures. In fact, it informs his subjects.
"As someone with a body that works, in many ways, badly," Starr says, "I am fascinated by the ways in which the human body works so well."
Starr's photography is just one part of Documentation, a three-artist exhibit about recording personal experiences through photography, opening this week at GOCA 121.
The series from Starr also offers insight into his life. After years of hosting performances at his Colorado Springs home, Starr is engrossed in the local music scene. His photos are of performers in motion. The subjects are primarily those he's gotten to know over his years of involvement in music and dance communities, like the Minneapolis dance duo Hijack, and Pueblo band the Haunted Windchimes.
Colorado Springs local Matt Chmielarczyk's contribution is a series of iPhone photos documenting surgery on his daughter Evie's femur. He shot the series on his iPhone, which he calls "one of the greatest tools I use now," because of its immediacy.
Evie's left femur grew crooked from a young age, requiring surgery at age 3. Now 11, she last year completed her final surgery, which lengthened her femur by 6 centimeters. Chmielarczyk photographed the healing and rehabilitation process so she could look back on the arduous experience.
"It's weird to separate yourself from such a personal thing," he says. "I have a completely different connection to it than anyone else who's seen it."
The show's final segment, "Towards Amnesia," comes from Andrea Wallace of Snowmass. The photos — immersive, filled with texture and color, and possessing a fairy tale-like quality — are "constructed to speak to personal space, psychological space, and separateness," Wallace says. Shots of herself, her son and close friends document a story of loss, and a wish for amnesia to forget the painful experience and grief — a story that to unfold, you'll need to see in person.