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A Drop in the Ocean: Photographs by Patrick Singleton

Gallery: A Drop in the Ocean: Photographs by Patrick Singleton

This exhibition showcases Singleton's study of human interaction at various beaches throughout the nation.

A Drop in the Ocean: Photographs by Patrick Singleton

“A Drop in the Ocean: Photographs by Patrick Singleton” will be displayed in Haverford College’s John B. Hurford '60 Humanities Center Gallery, located in Stokes Hall Room 102, April 17 through May 31, 2009. An opening reception will be held Friday, April 17, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Gallery.

Singleton, a graduate of Haverford’s class of 1982, began photographing people in beaches in 1980. “As my appreciation of beaches has evolved,” he says, “I have become more interested in the relationship between the social environment and the dynamic topography of beaches. Wave action, tides and beach erosion work on time scales of seconds, hours, and years, each contributing to and complicating the others’ effects. Waves and tidal rhythm are key to ocean beaches’ appeal—before one’s eyes, beaches become new places.”

“The beach isn’t merely dynamic—it’s fugitive,” he says. “The land retreats an average of three feet or so a year—a blistering pace of change for a geographic feature.”

In “A Drop in the Ocean,” Singleton will show wide-format, panoramic photos, taking in views of 180 to 220 degrees. “If the left side of the frame shows a view to the north, then the right side shows a view to the southwest,” he says. He uses a Scantech Voyageur camera on medium-format film, yielding negatives two and a quarter inches tall by 10 to 15 inches wide. “The camera turns as it makes an exposure, using a friction roller to pull the film past a vertical slit, so that each spot on the film is exposed only briefly—for the images on exhibit, either 1/60 or 1/125 of a second.”

Singleton earned a B.A. in fine art with a concentration in photography from Haverford. Before graduating, he also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University in 1989. Singleton wrote and photographed for newspapers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for several years, then worked for AFSCME, a public employees’ union, and UUSC, a nonprofit human rights organization. Later, he worked in printing and advertising. He is now an independent photographer and writer, living with his family in Newton, Massachusetts.

The Hurford Humanities Center Gallery is open Monday-Friday 2-5 p.m. Weekend hours (three weekends only): Saturday and Sunday, April 18 & 19, April 25 & 26, and Alumni Weekend, May 30 & 31, noon-4 p.m.

For more information, contact Matthew Seamus Callinan, Campus Exhibitions Coordinator, at (610) 896-1287 or

Sponsored by a generous grant from The Leaves of Grass Foundation.

The intersection of College Lane and Coursey Road in front of the Cricket Pitch.

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