Jerome, Arizona Van Dyke

My interest in the Alternate Processes continues. I had the opportunity during my Fall Class to do some Van Dykes and a couple of new Cyanotypes. This Image I originally shot during a Day Trip up to Jerome, Arizona back in the Mid-Late 1980’s. My Sister lived in Phoenix at the time and during a Visit there. I took a run up to Jerome.

A very interesting little Town that developed due to Copper Mining in the Area. Jerome sits a bit precariously on the side of a Mountain in the Area and is a great place to visit if you have the chance. I have not been back since my last time there in the 80’s. I do hope to visit there again.

The Original Film Image of this Shot was done with my Century Graphic and shot on 120 Tri-X Film. The Image Size is 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 and I have Printed it on Ilford Warm Tone Fiber Base Paper.

This Van Dyke Print was made from a Digital Negative that I made on Pictorico Transparency Film from the Scanned Original Film Negative. I was very pleased with the Highlights and Shadow Details and for a first attempt at the Van Dyke Process I feel produced an excellent Print.

I am really looking forward to continuing in the Alternate Processes…..

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Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham, Alabama

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Sloss Furnaces

I have recently discovered an Interesting Place to go to Photograph. I happened to find out about Sloss Furnaces online when I came across their Web Site.

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After some further investigation, I knew I would really want to visit there to Photograph and I made arrangements to make a trip over there. I visited in Late September this past Fall and my visit took place during the Week thinking there would be fewer Visitors during that time of Year with School back in session and I hoped it would be past the main Tourist Season. I was right. Hardly anyone was there during my Visit.

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However, at the time of my Visit, they were starting to set up for the Sloss Furnaces Haunted House Event that runs during all of October. I wish I had known about that at the Time I made my Trip there. I feel that I made the best of the Situation but some of my Access to parts of the Complex was compromised due to the Construction of the Halloween Event taking place. Disappointing, but, I still was very pleased with what I did get accomplished. It will sure entice me to want to visit again, I’m sure you will agree that one visit to a unique Location is just not enough to do everything you may want to. I feel My Work there is not finished yet…..

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I first explored around the Facility to see what sort of Image possibilities there might be. I soon discovered that Sloss was going to provide a number of options. Walking around also made me realize what a Hellish Work Environment an Operating Steel Mill must be like to spend your working Career at. There were People that spent 20 – 30 Years working here. I tip my Hat to them all. A special Breed of People to work that kind of Job.

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Regrettably, I had been away from doing any new Work for quite some time and I was really anxious to get back to it. I wanted to do some Color Work, some Black & White and possibly some Alternate Process Work as well. I have plans for some additional Alternate Process work for Sloss as I get to work on picking Images I feel would work well in Alternate Process.

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This is a Van Dyke Alternate Process Print of one of the Images I made at Sloss Furnaces.

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This is the Original Digital Image of a Reflection of a Building within a Window of another Building on the Complex.

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When looking through the Web Site and seeing some additional information On Line, I could tell that Sloss would offer some unique Image Opportunities that I was very excited about exploring.

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Sloss Furnaces has quite a History in Birmingham. It was a Producing Steel Mill for nearly 90 Years starting in the late 1800’s. Due to a number of Factors, Environmental, and Business Economics, the Mill Closed in the early 1970’s. It is now being preserved an an Industrial Museum and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. I have not Photographed at a Location like this before and I really enjoyed spending a couple of Days there.

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The Image directly above caught my Eye the way the Light was highlighting the Chain. I was very pleased with the Weather in Birmingham during my Visit. The Sun was out with some Cloud and provided some dramatic, High Contrast Light that I like to use in my Photography Work. Some of the Machinery and Structures there gave me the chance to use the Lighting to very good effect.

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I like to use Shadows and High Contrast Light to bring out Details and Textures and I like to use Shadows as Visual and Compositional Elements within my Photographs.

A couple of the Images I made at Sloss caught my Attention that to me were somewhat  Monochromatic even printed in Color, yet My Eyes were drawn to just a little Spot of Primary Color.

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I was also struck by how the Light was and how the Shadows fell on these two Images.

Sloss_Furnace_Sep232015_0988_A_Color_WebSome of the Images I made at Sloss during my time there I felt would present themselves equally well in Color and Black and White and I feel I was successful in that thought process.
Sloss_Furnace_Sep232015_0934_A_BW_WebThis is the Black and White Version of up near the top of this Posting.

Sloss_Furnace_Sep232015_0957A_Color_WebColor Version of Previous Image

Sloss_Furnace_Sep232015_0959_A_BW_WebBlack and White…

Sloss_Furnace_Sep232015_0959_A_Color_WebAnd Color. I was very pleased with how these came out. I don’t do very much Color Work and when I discovered Sloss Furnace and especially after I got there, I could tell right away that I would have some really good Color Opportunities. There were a few Shots that I felt only worked well in Color and some I felt would only work in Black and White.

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This Image was one I felt would only work in Color.

One of the Buildings on the Sloss Furnace Complex had some unique Product Advertisements painted on the back Wall that caught my Eye and I basically just went down the line and shot each one of them. I will post a new Separate Page dedicated to my Sloss Furnace Work that will include all 6 of these Advertisement Images.

Sloss_Furnace_Sep232015_1046_A_WebThis one I find amusing with the change in attitudes we now have about some of the Chemical Products used for Pest Control and Farming.

I enjoyed my Visit to Sloss Furnaces very much. It gave me the chance to do some new, interesting work that I am proud of and I sure hope I will have the chance to visit there again in the near future.

One Man’s Junk is another Man’s Treasure

I live in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area and on several occasions when I have travelled up Interstate 35 heading north I always remembered seeing just a few miles North of Denton a large Auto Salvage Yard that appeared to be full of older, Classic Cars and Trucks.

When I picked up Photography again about 2009/2010, I always thought that I would want to go up there to do some Photo work. When I was starting to get back into Photography again, I took a Digital Photo Class at Tarrant County College in Hurst. After such a long absence from Photography, I wasn’t sure if I could still do it. If I still had my Eye or not. And, I was interested in learning the Digital side of Photography. I wanted to start to learn about Photoshop and see if it offered an addition to my Photography Vision  and interests that would supplement my interests in Film.

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For my Final Project for that first Digital Class, I decided I wanted to do a series on Junk Cars and I wanted to focus on the Salvage Yard I had seen north of Denton. I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to get permission to shoot there or not. I had tried getting into a couple of other Salvage Yards in the area with no luck at all.

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So, I went up there one day and went in and explained that I was a Student Photographer at Tarrant County College doing a Project and I was seeking permission to Photograph there in the Salvage Yard. Luckily, I was given permission with the main stipulation not to climb on anything or try to get into any of the Cars or Trucks. I didn’t have to sign a Waiver or pay any sort of fee.

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This place is full of some very cool old Cars and Trucks. Some I saw dated to the 50’s and 40’s, maybe a few older than that. Of course the Cars and Trucks were in all states of condition which is what I was really looking for. The textures, colors ( mostly Rust of course ), shapes, details was what I wanted to try and capture.

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I also wanted to experiment with first, converting the Images to Black and White and then going back and selectively recolor portions that I felt justified that process. I did not alter any of the Colors that I chose to recolor portions of some of the Photographs. And, I did not do that to every Image. Although, I might add some tone to the Images that I chose to keep Black and White.

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I feel that this is a Project that can be continued at any time and I really want to go back to this particular Salvage Yard and spend more time there. My first and only visit was for only a portion of one Day. The size of the Yard is big enough that I could spend several hours of the course of several days to take advantage of changes in the Light during the Day. I want to shoot some Medium and Large Format Film there and some additional Digital. Hopefully coming up in the new Year I will get a chance to do that.

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A very interesting place. Especially if you are interested in Classic Cars and Trucks. This Yard has lots of potential and I very much want to go there again and again…..

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You can work with Film, You can work with Digital

I came across this attractive Wood sided Church south of the Dallas / Ft. Worth area back in the late 1980’s. I had checked out a 4×5 Camera at Tarrant County College while I was taking a Photography Course there at the Northeast Campus in Hurst, Texas.

The light was really good that day and I was attracted to the symmetry of the Architecture of the Church, the cast shadows, the white wood walls… So, I stopped and set up a shot. If I remember correctly, I think I made a couple of exposures and then went on my way. One of the things I would like to do is I would maybe venture out about a 100 mile radius from home to look for potential Photograph opportunities.

The next week at Class, I developed the Film. I was still new to Large Format at that time and my Film processing techniques still needed more experience. Unfortunately, during the process of Tray Developing the Film, it became pretty severely scratched on the Emulsion side of the Film.

Showing this Negative to my Instructor, He took some liquid Mask and painted over the scratched areas with the hope that those areas could be retouched when I made a Print from the Negative.

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I must admit that retouching Darkroom Prints has never been a skill I consider myself good at. My first few attempts at trying to Retouch a Print from this Negative were pretty much beyond my abilities. So, I gave it up…. I did not make anymore attempts because I felt the damage was too great, and I never made it back to that location to try and shoot the Church again.

I did however keep the Negative. Now, 25+ Years later with Digital Technology as capable as it is now I recently made a high resolution Scan of the 4×5 Negative and with the help of Photoshop, I was able to repair the damage to the Negative and finally was able to make a very nice Digital Inkjet Print from the Master Digital File.

 

Church-BW-03_for_Web I really enjoy shooting Film and I always will. The qualities and the look of a well made Darkroom Print is still really hard to beat. But, I also am learning to appreciate the capabilities that the Digital side of Photography has to offer as well.

I don’t believe that Digital will ever completely overtake Film. I certainly hope it does not. I feel Film is and will continue to be a very viable medium to use for Photography. But, I also believe that Digital can be a very effective complementary Tool that we can use for our Art.

I think this is a very good example of what can be done with some of the Digital Tools we have available to us. Thankfully, I was able to rescue an Image that otherwise was unprintable to me…

So, I will say explore everything, use whatever Tools you feel are necessary to advance your Art. They all have qualities and capabilities that are useful and sometimes can work together……

 

William Christenberry

William Christenberry

1936 –

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For my next Favorite Photographer Profile, I chose to talk about William Christenberry. He reminds me very much of Walker Evans, but with Color Photography instead of primarily Black and White.

Christenberry, born November 5, 1936 is an American Photographer, Painter and Sculptor. He received his BA (1958) and Masters (1959) Degrees in Fine Arts from the University of Alabama studying under the noted Abstract Expressionist Melville Price. Since 1968, Christenberry has taught at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC.

There is a very good NPR Interview with Christenberry that I would recommend anyone interested to give a listen. Here is a link that should bring you to that program.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5613101

Wouldn’t it be great to take Classes with him as your Instructor?

He began his Artistic Career painting large Abstract Expressionist Canvasses, but gradually began to work on material that spoke about the place of his childhood. Raised in Tuscaloosa, Christenberry spent his summers with extended Family in Hale County. Later discovering the Book ” Let Us Now Praise Famous Men ” by James Agee and Walker Evans, Evans’ Photographs made a strong impression on Christenberry.

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I think Evans’ Photographs would make a strong impression on any Artist or anyone in general. They sure do on me….

Shortly after beginning his Career at the Corcoran College, Christenberry began making annual trips back to Hale County during the summers to visit Family and make Photographs. At the beginning, these Images were all made with a Kodak Brownie Camera he received as a child. Later, Christenberry moved up to Large Format to improve the quality of his Photographs. Christenberry became acquainted with Walker Evans and Evans encouraged Christenberry to take his Photography more seriously. In 1973 on one of his trips back to Hale County, Evans accompanied him. This was Evans first and only return to Hale County since 1936.

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Over the course of his summer visits back to Hale County, Christenberry would continue to Photograph and document the decay of individual structures which are Photographed as nearly isolated objects.

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His Mixed-Media Sculptures are based on Photographs he made during these visits. The bases for these Sculptures are often set in soil taken from these places.

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Christenberry has also collected old Advertising Signs and other found objects that inspire him. Some of which he has incorporated into his work. Others hang in his studio.

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I think one of the reasons that I am so drawn to Christenberry’s and Walker Evans work as well is that I am reminded of my childhood visits to extended Family in the Paris, Texas area. My Father and Mother both grew up in that area and I remember seeing scenes like these. The rural Businesses, Homes, Churches, Advertising Signs. Sure makes me think now if I had just had a Camera and had the interest in Photography that I do now.  I think that is where some of my inspiration comes from for the type of work I like to do. I have been very influenced by their work. I see it in my work.

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I appreciate the honest, straight forward approach to Christenberry’s Images. The compositions are clean, some have a nice symmetry to them. I look for that as well within my own Photography. I see that in Walker Evans work as well. I admire these Images very much.

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Though he is known more as a Photographer and Multi-Media Artist than as a Painter, Christenberry continues to teach Painting. His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows around the World.

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Thank you, William Christenberry. I admire your work very much…..

Documenting Our Past

Recently I have come to the realization that I have not done a very good job of documenting my Past. And, I regret that now very much. Looking back, had I been interested in Photography at a much younger age, perhaps this situation would not be the way it is now.

In 1986, I took a Photography Class at Tarrant County College in Hurst, Texas. It was one of the advanced Classes they offered at the time. My Instructor was Peter Feresten and we used Toy or very simple Cameras for this Class.

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I chose to use a Kodak Instamatic Camera that I had been given as a Gift at the time of my High School Graduation in Summer, 1973.

If anyone remembers these Cameras, They were very basic using 126 Size Cartridge Film. The Camera had a Plastic Lens and you basically put the Film Cartridge in, Advance the Film and Press the Shutter Release. It had a View Finder that you could use to Frame your Shot.

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You could get Black and White Film in the 126 Cartridge for this Camera back then. And, A Full Frame Print has a unique sort of Border around the outer edges of the Image. A bit of softness in the Focus because of the Plastic Lens. But, I do like that quality for these Images that I made for this particular Project.

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Of course, Looking back now, I wish I would have done more for this project while some of the Places from that time in my Life were still fairly intact.

These Images come from places I knew, Places I spent time as a child while we were living in Dallas. I was Born in 1954 and we lived in Dallas until Fall, 1963.

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Memories from around our Home, Memories from a couple of the Parks we used to go to that were near our Neighborhood. Where we went Swimming, where we played, where some of my Little League Baseball Games were played. One of the Movie Theaters we used to go to.

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When I look at these Photographs now, I see myself back then. The memories come back. The Kids we knew and Played with. My School. My Neighborhood. How can that be so long ago?

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Document Your Past ……

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I really enjoyed this particular Class. Peter Feresten was a very talented Photographer and Instructor. I gained Knowledge and Inspiration from him that helped me to develop as a Photographer. Sadly, He is no longer with us and I wish I could tell him again what my contact with him meant to me.

Thank you, Peter…..

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I know we all have our own likes and dislikes about the kind of Photographic Work we prefer to do. But, a Concept like this can also provide us with new ideas and new projects that can provide a very personal look at ourselves. Think of who we were. Rekindle memories and experiences of our past.

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Document Your Past …..

I don’t think I have that Kodak Instamatic Camera anymore, much less that there would still be Film available for it. But, I want to try and do some additional work in this Project. Maybe using a Holga Plastic Lens Camera and maybe my Kodak No. 1 Panoram Camera.

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So much has gone or changed to the point of being beyond recognition of what I  remember from my Youth. It could make some aspects of trying to continue this Project, now 25 plus Years after the original work was done will be challenging.

But, Isn’t the challenge of doing Photography the Point? It should be…..

Document Your Past…..

Walker Evans

One of the projects that I would like to do for my Blog Page is to Profile some of my Favorite Photographers. Show some of their Work and try to relate how Artists that have come before me have helped to inspire me and influence my particular Style of Photography. I enjoy looking at and studying other Photographers Work. Past and present included. I believe that we can all learn and be inspired by what others have done or are doing now.

My first choice for this series is one of my very Favorite Photographers,

Walker Evans.

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Walker Evans was an American Born Photographer who is probably best known for his work with the the Farm Security Administration documenting the effects of the Great Depression during the 1930’s.

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His Body of Work with the FSA was what first brought him to my attention. His powerful, compelling Portraits of the Bud Fields, Floyd Burroughs and Frank Tingle Families in Hale County, Alabama really tug at me.

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During the Summer of 1936 while still working for the FSA, Evans and Writer Frank Agee were sent by Fortune Magazine on an Assignment to Hale County, Alabama. This Assignment resulted in the incredible book ‘ Let Us Now Praise Famous Men ‘

Tengle children, Hale County, Alabama by Walker Evans, 1936 (LOC)

Much of his work during the FSA Period was with an 8 x 10 Large Format Camera. He is quoted as saying that his goal as a Photographer was to make pictures that are ” Literate, Authoritative, Transcendent “. I would say that he by far surpassed his Goal.

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Another Body of Work by Evans started in 1938 Photographing in the New York Subway with a hidden Camera in his coat. I really enjoy the Candid, Unwitting Participant qualities of these Photographs. In some, the people in the Image seem to be lost in their own thoughts. Others are making pretty much direct Eye Contact as if they somehow suspect that something is going on. I wonder sometimes if some of them did know that they were being Photographed. Some wonderful Images….

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I also greatly admire Evans’ Large Format Architectural Images and Environmental Portraits. Using Large Format really makes one slow down and take stock of what he / she is trying to say to the viewer. Evans was a Master at this. I feel that I have learned a great deal about what I look for in my Photography and Walker Evans’ influence is visible in my Work as well.

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Walker Evans Died at his home in New Haven, Connecticut in 1975. The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Library of Congress are the major holders of his Work.  Thank you, Walker Evans for the Art that you gave for us to Study, Admire and Appreciate…

New Material Added

Hi Everyone, I have added a new Page to my site showing some of my Alternate Process Work. I will be adding more to this Page as time allows. I’ve had a strong Interest in Alternate Processes and have been able to do some which has really whetted my desire to do more. I was able to take a Class on Alternate Processes at Tarrant County College back in the Late 1980’s and did a series of 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 Kallitypes. A similar process to Van Dyke or Palladium or Platinum. A very nice look that i really like. I have also taken a Workshop for Wet Plate Collodion ( Tin Type ) and a Workshop on Cyanotype.

I hope to be able to pursue additional work with some of the Alternate Processes in the future. Thank you….

What prompts one to venture into Photography? How does someone become interested in picking up a Camera, Look in the Viewfinder and press the Shutter?

Are some people born with a creative ‘Eye’ ? Or maybe because of encouragement from an Artistic Parent, Sibling, or Friend, They consider giving it a try?

The age at which someone becomes interested and wants to get involved in Photography doesn’t seem to matter. Some start very young, in Childhood or maybe their Teens, or, maybe much later in Life.

I didn’t start until my Late 20’s / Early 30’s. I was pretty active at first for about 7/8 Years. Including the time I first started taking Photography Classes at Tarrant County College. Thanks to having the benefit of a couple of really terrific Teachers, things really seemed to start coming together for me at that time.

Learning to ‘See’ Photographically. Learning the basic Techniques of Developing Film myself. Making Prints myself. The excitement of seeing the Image come alive on the Paper in the Developing Tray.   Magic…..

I was hooked….

I wanted to know more. I wanted to do more. I still want to know more. I still want to do more….

But then a couple of different Jobs I had over the next 15 Years didn’t give me enough free time for myself to stay active and connected with the Art. I sure regret that now because I feel I have lost a large amount of valuable time that I will never get back.

Thanks to a Key Conversation about 6 Years ago at Dinner with my Sister and Brother-in-Law, the Subject was brought up. With their thoughtful interest and encouragement my interest in Photography was rekindled. I am so very thankful to them for that. More than I can express…

In Class and on my own, I was exposed to other Photographer’s Work. I’ve come to admire and appreciate the Work of a number of Photographers and Artists of other Mediums past and present. My ‘Eye’, my Style, the things I look for within my own Work has grown and will continue to grow because of that exposure.

Though your particular Style may not follow that of others, it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate what others do or have done. It’s a resource that we can all benefit from. I so enjoy every opportunity I can take to visit Art Museums, Galleries where Photography Work is shown. The Dallas / Ft.Worth area provides a very diverse base to explore the Art World.

I think someone said once that Copying is the greatest form of Flattery. Maybe we’ve all done that to some extent consciously or not. I don’t know that I would say that I make a conscious effort to copy another Photographer’s Style, But, I would certainly give them credit for influencing the development of my own Style.

I believe all Artists have a unique Vision and their own Style. And, I want to thank them all for sharing their Creativity with the World. We are more Enriched and Inspired for their efforts…

Some of my Favorites

Thank you, Walker Evans, William Eggleston, William Christenberry, Harry Callahan, The Westons, Lewis Hine, Berenice Abbott, Dorthea Lange, Elliot Porter, Richard Avedon, Alfred Stieglitz, Timothy O’ Sullivan, William Henry Jackson, Edward S. Curtis, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Picasso, Van Gogh, Robert Frank, Arnold Newman, Ansel Adams, W. Eugene Smith, Jack Delano, Josef Sudek, Sally Mann, Diane Arbus, Robert Capa and so many more….

Photography Interests

My Photography Work primarily focuses on Black and White. Either in Film or even with what I shoot in Digital.  My mindset is looking at Black and White. Yes, Color certainly has its place, but, My sensibilities lean more towards the Abstract of Black and White.

When I look at Color, I still use my normal Shooting Routine. A particular Color may grab my interest. Especially a Primary Color. Yet, I will still look for Lines, Shadows, Textures that I can use as Visual Elements within the Image. I will still ‘Design’ an Image in Color as I would in Black and White.

My Film usage centers around Large and Medium Format. I have some experience with 4×5 Large Format and I have a Graflex Century Graphic Medium Format Camera and a very Cool Kodak No.1 Panoram Camera that uses 120 Size Roll Film and makes Panoramic Images in a  2-1/4×7 Size Image. My Digital Camera consists of a Nikon D200 and a couple of Lenses.

I have also had the opportunity to dabble in some of the Alternative Processes and I have a very strong interest in pursuing some of those further. I have done a few Wet Plate Collodion Prints, Cyanotype and Kallitype. I like the Craft involved in making these types of Prints. The Look of the Print, the Color and Tone. The use of different Art Papers.

I really want to do more work in some of those Processes. With the kinds of Subject Matter that I tend to Focus on,  I feel that my Creative Vision lends itself well to using some of those Processes. I really want to try Palladium and to get more experience in making Digital Negatives for use with Alternative Processes. I was able to take a Course at Tarrant County College back in the 1980’s that dealt with Alternative Processes and really enjoyed that Class.