Photography featured image

Most photographers can trace their interest in photography to the innocent & naïve gestures their families & friends made with simple cameras recording the common events in their lives. The direct method of recording images encouraged the documentary method, & much of that inevitably conformed to the visual standards of the day, so inevitably portrait, still life & landscape were dominant thus engendering tedious notions that photography was trying to pass itself off as art. The art world was having none of it. To draw or paint required training & skill, but also an intuitive sense of color, balance, proportion, etc. Photography simply recorded, with some initial technical difficulties, the picture; in other words it painted the picture for you without having to take lessons in perspective & color mixing. This must have seemed rather like painting by numbers to established artists.

Eventually people began to realize one could do much more than simply copy what they saw; they could actually visualize what they felt. The intuitive skills most valuable to any kind of artist could also be brought to bear on photography. Lartigue showed it very nicely in his lovely capturing of a privileged & joyful childhood. Ultimately the argument over whether photography was art or not died a natural death, but most of the early great photographers still remained at least somewhat under its influence. I have always thought Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, Manuel Alvarez Bravo & the Westons were essentially fine printmakers who used the medium of photography. It was after all the final print that was visualized as their interpretation of what they actually saw in the field.

Photography moved further along with the advent of fine, small cameras. The very physical act of making a photograph was considerably easier & thus more immediately available at any given time. At the same time there were still not many places in which photography could be seen by the general population, & few were the publications which supported anything beyond the amateur enthusiast until Aperture appeared in 1952 & galleries & museums began to show serious work. Szarkowski really set the standard by his visionary & searching shows, including what was then called a radical departure from traditional photography, with the mounting of the Eggleston show. We finally come to the digital era in which the technical advantages have rendered Polaroid archaic, digital software has rendered unnecessary chemistry & special rooms & equipment in order to finally see proof of what you photographed, & the internet has made everyone able to mount their own show daily, to expound endlessly about the craft, & to see the work of literally millions of photographers across the globe. In 1952 you could name the principal practitioners; now the list is too long to contemplate.

So why should anyone care about my photographs? I can’t actually answer this, I can only take them & put them up like anyone else. I can say that I have, through current media opportunities, found & even met in person some wonderfully talented photographers, & I am constantly challenged & inspired by them & others. They may ask the same question which begins this paragraph, but at the end of the day we do what we know we are inspired to do, & that is mostly sufficient for me; should anyone actually ice my cake I will be happy to enjoy that as well.

Some of the photographs were taken with a Hasselblad SWC wide angle camera which I found to be a real source of inspiration early on; others are taken with a digital Leica more recently. The film based photos are subject to some deterioration in color, as I trusted Kodak in using their Ektacolor film which has proven to be notoriously unstable. Most of my 35mm slides of 1960 are now orange & irretrievable. The prints which have survived were from professional inter-negatives made on Kodacolor.

Taken with a Hasselblad Super Wide Camera

Taken with a Leica Digilux II