Caleb Charland, a Mr. Wizard for the photography set, has an exhibit documenting some of his science experiments up at Gallery Kayafas. How many potatoes does it take to power a lamp? What does the life cycle of a lima bean look like? What happens when you drip hot candle wax on photographic paper?
Unlike Mr. Wizard, who had a science show for kids in the early days of television, Charland’s endpoint isn’t knowledge. It’s beauty. To light up that lamp, he didn’t merely plug it into dozens of potatoes. He found a potato field. The lamp in the uncanny “Potato Power, La Joie Growers LLC, Van Buren, Maine” takes on an eerie glow in a dusky blue light thanks not only to the spuds, but to a long exposure that gathered what light there was on film, and made a sparkling canopy of stars arcing overhead.