Sunday, August 21, 2016

Man with an Ax 1998

I've spent the last several weeks scanning many of my old black and white negatives and putting them into my computer.  It's been a long and interesting journey, seeing so many images from my past, and at the same time trying to figure out just which photos I should take the time and energy to convert to digital--there are thousands of negatives to choose from.  Almost all of my photographs were taken with the idea of doing something more to them, none were ever shown "as is". What interests me now, in going through them, is what I was trying, unknowingly, to capture.

I've found three recurrent themes that run through these photographs: the first reflects a kind of awkwardness, that moment when things are just that much out of kilter, wrong but not drastically so;  the second is a sense of ominousness; and the third is, often times, one of sadness or worry.  There are sweet images, ones of friends or family or pets, but they tend to be the minority, and not the ones I used.  What I'm seeing now is that the altered, painted image distilled what the original photo was about and boosted it, underscoring the awkwardness or the fear or the loneliness.

I have a vague idea that is formulating about how to use these photographs once again, but I am and am not the person I was 20-30 years ago. This may be the start of a new visual journey for me, or it may be no more then looking back through the black and white scrap book of my life.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Arab Show 1979

I've spent the last week scanning many of my old black and white negatives into my computer.  It's been wonderful--taking a long and extensive trip into my fairly distant past(I started with my first camera when I was nine and stopped shooting film in 2004 ).  A good number of my negatives are of the large horse events in and around Phoenix in the late 70's and early 80's.  Many of the horse people, especially the Arab and gaited horse people, have a love of pretense and and kind of sleaziness that was intensely attractive to me.

I took this photograph and then painted with gouache over it. I subsequently gave the painted photo to my dealer as a gift, and she turned around and sold it soon after.  I was hurt by her selling it so promptly. Of course, she might have just needed the money and/or not liked the image.  I had kept no record of it, but I remember that I had loved the painting and had assumed she would do the same.