A few photos offer time stilled and time streaming. We see seasons mocked by long exposures, humans blurred to look like clouds amassing. One uncanny color picture, Birney Imes III’s 1986 Riverside Lounge, issues straight from Friedlander’s, Frank’s, and Evans’s vernacular interiors, especially those abovementioned honky-tonks and bars. Next to a pool table in a garishly lit, keenly detailed room stands a translucent specter of a (very real) patron holding a cue stick, and next to him stands an even ghostlier, barely there doppelgänger. For a different sort of eeriness, see Stephen Shore’s image of a small Montana town. Four people stand around an intersection; the streets look abandoned, as if emptied by an epidemic; store signage teases us to ask who comes or goes. No moving traffic; only one parked vehicle; unoccupied meters up and down the street like trail markers to a long-since-departed band of travelers. It’s as empty an image as can be, yet it’s both fraught with something about to happen and saturated with depletion — a dead town that doesn’t yet know it’s dead.
The Photographer’s Eye: Ways of Seeing the Permanent Collection, Museum of Photographic Arts, 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park. Through Sunday, April 27. For additional information, call 619-238-7559.