So clear is the inspiration of children's science experiments on Caleb Charland's Demonstrations that somewhere in Portugal a class of student projects was inspired by them. (Their teacher found Charland's work online.) Charland's collection of black-and-white stills captures ordinary objects at the heights of their abilities, showcasing a beauty that originates from the precise innate tendencies of everyday things. In one, magnetism trumps gravity as nails tied to a wooden box pause midair, radiating toward a horseshoe magnet. Through lengthy and layered exposures—as many as 85 in a single frame—Charland translates these complex properties into moments. A flashlight swings in the dark until losing momentum, tracing a splashy elliptical orbit. These images are obvious in one sense—you can usually see all the materials—but puzzling in another, challenging viewers to figure out how they were created.
In the back room of Blue Sky Gallery, Why Not?, a retrospective of Oregon-based photographer John Bauguess, perfectly pairs with Charland's work. Bauguess is a seasoned commercial and fine-art photographer, and his candid portraits similarly condense stories into split seconds, capturing "the fleeting theatricality he finds in daily life." One particularly striking image shows two suited men on the deck of a ferry, one enthusiastically snapping a close-up of the other pretending to fall over the rail, as the casual posture of an onlooker tells you the two men are in their own excited world.