Some experiments

September 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Top: I adapted on old Agfa roll-rilm camera so that I could put a roll of 35mm film into it. This created long, narrow images that also included the sprocket holes of the film. This is a steam pipe at the University of New Hampshire.

Middle: A roll of film run through an Olympus half-frame camera, with the camera moving slowly across a landscape, in this case, Horse Barn Hill at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. The effect of the contact sheet is a sort of cumulative panorama,

Bottom: Two hand-colored pictures that ended up side by side in a box of prints. They looked good together, so I glued them into one unit.

It’s easy to assume that we know what photographs should be. But it’s fun to go beyond assumptions to see what else they can be. One of my favorite moments in the history of photography came at the Institute of Design in Chicago in the 1950s. Under the leadership of Laslo Moholy-Nagy, a group of photographers that included Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind insisted on not seeing photographs in the traditional way. Photos were combined in all sorts of juxtapositions, double exposures turned the world into a new place, and commonplace subject matter was raised to new levels of artistic value. One of the many little bits of “theme music” that plays continuously in the back of my head is the work of the Institute of Design during that period. Happily, it has made me quite fearless when it comes to not just taking the first thing that comes out of the camera.

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