Journal Entry #2
I have been attracted to old photographs for a very long time. Shortly after finishing at The School of Visual Arts (ca. 1982), I got a job at the world’s only bookstore devoted to publications on the art & history of photography,
“A Photographer’s Place” on Mercer Street in Soho was that place. It was an old-school bookstore… with homemade bookshelves from floor to ceiling, old photographic equipment, boxes of daguerreotypes, tintypes, cabinet photos, ambrotypes, platinum prints and much more. I would spend my “down time” scouring through the photographs, the books (reading, looking, studying) and examining the antique view cameras, twin lens reflexes, glass plate negatives, film holders etc….
I would meet many of the world’s best & noted photographers and photo artists and have some of the most interesting conversations I could imagine. I would have access to rare books, original prints and great minds. While I spent some time studying photography at SVA, the darkroom was not “my thing”. It was too “hands off”, not tactile enough for my taste and I wasn’t fond of the chemicals and the darkroom in general. The 4+ years I spent at the bookstore was an invaluable education in itself. I turned my interest in the medium to working with (using) the old photographs and equipment in the form of collage and assemblage. That seemed to satisfy my love of the medium as well as my need to “make things” in a tactile way. I mixed fine art media with the photographic ephemera to create my work during this time. I would spend the remainder of that decade, and some years into the next, working this way. Examples of this work are included in this Archives Page .
Fast-forward to the imagery I am using now…….. and (oddly enough) to the (very) non-tactile form of digital imaging. And while there is a world of difference between the darkroom and the computer, they share the reality that the craft & technique support the image making….. which make that secondary to the resulting image……..More on this idea in future posts.