Placement of Place

Recovering attorney Esther Sirotnik took no photography classes back when she attended the UW, and that was when people still put film in cameras. “I always took pictures,” she recalls by phone, but she had no training. After college, living in Portland and San Francisco, “I never really had the right camera or the right time” to pursue the art. Then, four years ago, she picked up a new digital camera and began shooting on the streets of Paris. The results appear in the group show “Placement of Place” (through Feb. 14), which has been curated to avoid the tired photographic tropes of well-known, endlessly documented cities. The goal for Sirotnik is to “take photos that don’t depict the iconic images [of Paris]. I have maybe one shot of the Eiffel Tower.” Leaving behind her Seattle family for a half-dozen photo excursions since 2003, she explains, “I rent a really small flat and eat baguettes. And I walk miles and miles every day…[in] some of the more outlying arrondissements.” Some of the editing, to avoid cliché, is done on the spot with the click of the delete button—“It’s kind of a reverse-engineering thing.” Then some is done back home on the computer in Seattle, where she’s since been training at the Photographic Center Northwest in traditional (film) techniques. After showing some of her work in coffee shops, says Sirotnik, “This is my first big gallery show.” Also featured are R. Mac Holbert and Dan Steinhardt. BRIAN MILLER

Jan. 7-Feb. 14, 11 a.m., 2009

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