When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.
Thanks to this thread a photo-series idea arose, and since I have cameras and film once more, it can be attempted.
Walkers Evans' work inspired/motivated me as Ansel Adams work did for many other folks.
Chances are good I'll never visit New Mexico, but I live close to where Evans made many classic images: the Phillipsburg, (NJ) Easton-Allentown-Bethlehem-Northhampton County (PA) area. I'm long-familiar with many of the views he recorded, not just from his photos but from earliest memory. Our family drive through (and to) there every time we visited grandma.
I'm gonna photograph up there.
Much of the area is frozen in time. The 1930's Great Depression hit and its shadow lingers still. River towns, steel towns, coal towns, slate & concrete towns. Row houses, industrial rustbelt ruins. In coal towns like Wilkes-Barre and Tamaqua entire neighborhoods look as if printed in sepia and the year on the calendar begins with '18'.
I'll pass along images if/when I pursue this.
For instance, the following Evans image--I was there in July. A friend grew up on that hill, about 3 blocks from the hilltop homes. The bridge and houses are still there. The large building at bridge's end isn't, I think. It's an eerie sensation to stand there looking at the scene--as if you're in the Evans photo.
Thanks for the unintentional inspiration.
Last edited by janepaints; 16-Nov-2007 at 16:16. Reason: typos.
It is a little-known fact that Moonrise Hernandez was Ansel's lover in the early 40's. Sadly, she died not long ago and is buried in that very cemetery. Notice the extra headstone on the far left?
Just thought I would take a moment to comment. I feed my family with digital capture and photoshop. I can move around pretty well in the program. I have a workflow that stays the same for 90% of what I need to do. That's customer driven commercial work. I can't explain why it just bugs me to see so much of artistic work cheapened by the new methods. I'm a curmudgeon I guess. Happily the world's big enough for all of us.
If I ever get to Hernandez I'm quite sure I'll pull over and sit on the roof of the truck for a minute to reflect. When I read the story behind the photo in Ansels book 40 photographs or whatever the title was, I can identify with every breath and emotion he described. I've clambored out of a pickup truck with an ancient 8X10 camera and experienced it all. Are we the last generation that will be able to say that? A generation of photographers is coming up that will read those paragraphs he wrote about an afternoon in 1941 and won't have the slightest clue what he's talking about.
As long as there has been guys with white hair, I suppose the same phenomenon has occured.
I would be one (of many) who is providing cheapened artistry yet I've had no one tell me up front at a show that I suck, or that my work should be relegated to the discount bins at Walmart, or that I should grow some balls and be real concerning photographic processes. One man who owned a professional lab for many years was not put off when I told him the image he was looking at was derived through a digital print process. He was rather engaged in the image. Another person told me that a well known local artist had been seen analyzing this same image with a fine tooth comb evaluating the grain structures and layering.
All this attention over a dumb inkjet print?
Or was it the image that mattered most process being secondary?
I can't explain why it just bugs me to see so much judgment regarding process.
Actually it doesn't bug me at all. That's your artistic license and free right to expression. Happy image making for all!
It's worth remembering that today's white haired curmudgeons got here by starting as young, bright-eyed and bushy tailed fellows who thought they owned the world. I don't know if I fully qualify for a curmudgeon part yet, but the gray hair is here my kids are already on their road too...
"I can't explain why it just bugs me to see so much of artistic work cheapened by the new methods."
The term "new methods" encompasses a pretty broad area. I don't know exactly what you have in mind, maybe some of the digital "painting" that's being done, maybe some of the silly compositing, I'm not sure exactly what you're thinking of. But I've seen some incredible work done with an ink jet printer. George deWolfe's and Tyler Boley's work comes immediately to mind. Tyler uses a 5x7 camera, I don't know what George is using today, he used to be a large format photorapher. Far from cheapening anything, their work elevates the art of photography IMHO. And of course there was a ton of awful stuff done in darkrooms too but I don't remember people criticizing darkrooms just because a lot of bad stuff came out of them.
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
a mile away and you'll have their shoes.