“Sharp Intake of Breath” is a photography exhibition currently running at Finc on Wakefield Street. I popped in for the opening night, and later “interviewed” Andrew Ecclestone over a beer.

The exhibition centres on the intrepretation of the word ‘enigma’. All four exhibiters were students of Jordyn O’Keeffe, and were given the task of taking ‘enigma’ and translating it into the visual medium.

What’s interesting about this type of project is that it both works the artistic skill of the exhibiter (exhibitionist? dunno. will stick with exhibiter), and exposes to the viewer how they chose to interpret particular ideas.

Andrew, interestingly, decided to follow a process that involved exploring the etymology of the word enigma, and then attempting to reconstruct the meaning via the photographic medium. In plain English that means he worked out what the word is supposed to mean, then tried to depict it.

One of the things I like about art is the way it is a tension between the wishes of the artist, and their ability to achieve what they’d like. In short, art (and in this instance craft), is all about watching the progress of people learning and practicing a skill they would like to develop.

In Andrew’s case he’s toying with a very old idea about the obscurity of deity. Sounds a bit intense, but what it’s actually about is the way that you can never really grasp something simply by description. A photo is a image, but that image is also a single frame of the subjects real world experience. Trying to capture the essence of a living being from such a single frame is actually incredibly difficult, and all the photos in the exhibition work this same subject.

So, if you’d like to see just that, get along to Finc. Currently exhibiting are Andrew, Geraldine Downey, Stella Ramage, and Paul Holley. In two weeks the exhibit will be re-hung.

Look for the pictures of a woman depicted looking through a dark glass.