“Our country is made for long trips”
American photographer Stephen Shore
Road trips are part of the fabric of America. They inform, inspire and invigorate.
The American road trip has long been a signature adventure for families. There must be thousands and thousands of family snapshots from summer vacations. The open road and the vast land have also engaged artists. Road trips are prominent in literature, with writings by Steinbeck and Kerouac for example, as well as in music, movies and photography. The road trip is part of our culture.
Photography captures and shares perspectives of the landscapes, our communities and the roadside signs and symbols of American life. Photographers, including Walker Evans and Edward Weston, immortalized their travels through the United States in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1950s America’s culture was documented in the famous book, The Americans, by Robert Frank (among my personal favorites). In the 1970s Stephen Shore undertook his month long adventure resulting in the famous “American Surfaces” series. In 2014, David Campany’s book and traveling exhibit, The Open Road: Photography & the American Road Trip explored the photographic road trip as a genre of its own. He notes:
“the road trip confirmed our fascination, our horror,
our sense of possibility, of the sublime and the banal.
And forced us to confront the clichés in our heads and the clichés out there. I think that’s why most photographers go on the road.”
brought to life the awe across the western states, in the Rockies, Yellowstone and the Tetons;
made me think about the first pioneers (and what we now call “fly over country”) as I travel around the Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains while listening to Bluegrass music; and,
my 2018 Americana Road Trip featured “another time” along Route 66, while also following parts of the trail of civil rights, experiencing the gut wrenching Oklahoma memorial and listening to the vibrant roots of country, rock and roll, blues and soul music. You can also find more from the 2019 trip here and here
One of the aspects of PhotoNexus that excites me is the talented group of people who have come together to share their knowledge, insights and inspiration with the small group of people attending the event. We have brought together an outstanding group of independent curators, galleries, photographers, and photography educators who will offer a broad perspective on the art of photography, as well as take you behind-the-scenes with their own personal experiences and commentary. Among the people behind the art, who PhotoNexus attendees will meet and engage with, are:
a person who apprenticed under Ansel Adams and was selected to print his Yosemite series.
among the photographers we have people whose work is in the National Portrait Gallery, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Center for Creative Photography, Tucson AZ– to name just a few
we have a person world renown for his platinum palladium prints
the galleries who are involved work with museums and private collectors. They also manage estates of some famous photographers
an expert on the historical development of photography and how it has influenced the contemporary artistic medium
the person who leads one of the world’s most prestigious and significant photography education programs, as well as a former member of the faculty of Art Center College of Design
a leader in the world of fine art photography and today’s digital world who has developed new approaches to fine art printing, book making and exhibiting
a pioneer in the photo books segment
On Saturday afternoon, we will make a special field trip to visit David Michael Kennedy’s studio and dark rooms. Here is a preview
Meet the Talented People: here is a little more information about the distinguished and talented people who will share their insights and inspiration at PhotoNexus:
(Update) Nathan Benn: Over the past fifty years, Nathan Benn has worn many professional hats related to photographic arts, including National Geographic Magazine photographer, Director of Magnum Photos, curator, Internet entrepreneur, and museum Trustee. He is currently vice-president of CENTER for Photography in Santa Fe and is working on a sixth solo museum exhibition of his photographs. Nathan’s photographs can be found in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery, the Rijksmuseum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Harvard Art Museums, and George Eastman Museum. In parallel to his career of making and managing photographs, Nathan has been a serious collector of photography and early American decorative arts. He will talk about the homes and collections in New York and Santa Fe that he shares with his wife, Rebecca Abrams, a fine arts photographer. His presentation will be about their evolution as collectors, what inspires them to live with photographs, and personal concerns and strategies regarding photography collecting and preserving one’s photographic legacy https://www.apeculiarparadise.com/https://www.kodachromememory.com/
Mark Berndt: Mark Berndt is a photographer whose work celebrates people and the circumstance of life. He brings the experience of a long and varied career in the visual arts, offering a select set of services in photography, filmmaking, design and teaching to professional and emerging imaging artists in Santa Fe and worldwide. With more than 20 years of teaching experience, he brings considerable knowledge about, and experience in, the art and business of visual image-making and communications. http://markberndt.com/
Reid Callanan has spent his entire adult life focused on photographic education — the past twenty-eight years as Director of the world renown Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and before that working at Maine Photographic Workshops. In addition to his role as director, Reid has taught a workshop named “Cameras Don’t Take Pictures.” While his business career is mostly all consuming, he also makes time to photograph every day and for his ongoing projects. Reid also founded the non-profit Santa Fe Center for Photography, now known as Center, and is currently an officer on its Board of Director. https://www.santafeworkshops.comhttps://www.reidcallanan.com/about
Natalie Christensen is a photographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has shown work in the U.S. and internationally including London, Dusseldorf, New York and Los Angeles. She was one of five invited photographers for the exhibition The National 2018: Best of Contemporary Photography at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and has recently been named one of “Ten Photographers to Watch” by the Los Angeles Center of Digital Art. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the University of Texas at Tyler. In addition to pursuing her interests in art and design, Natalie has worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years and has been particularly influenced by the work of depth psychologist Carl Jung. This influence is evidenced in her photographs, as shadows and psychological metaphors are favored subjects. https://nataliechristensenphoto.com
David Michael Kennedy. His body of work spans over 40 years and is held in both private and museum collections including The National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution and The Harwood Museum, among many others. His impressive and vast body of work includes iconic portraits of musicians, actors and artists. Visitors often find themselves stumbling onto recognizable pictures of Bob Dylan, Debbie Harry or Willie Nelson –pictures that they have known well and for years-but now have the opportunity to meet the artist and hear the stories behind the famous images. Leaving New York and commercial photography in 1986 David Michael Kennedy moved to New Mexico and began to focus on his fine art photography. His name quickly became synonymous with New Mexican Landscapes and we are fortunate to see it through his eyes. Kennedy’s images are materialized through the traditional analogue technique of Platinum/Palladium printing, of which he is widely considered to be one of the best in the world. https://www.davidmichaelkennedy.com
Pilar Law has been in the business of photography and a photographer’s advocate for 14 years. She’s worked with photo stock agencies, technology companies and photo labs to bring them online and to develop new approaches to fine art printing, book making and exhibiting, social media marketing and sales. During the course of her work, she studied with photographers who encouraged her to hone her own skill and pursue fine art photography. http://www.pilarlaw.com/about.html. Edition ONE is a unique contemporary photography gallery specializing in editions of one. Edition ONE collectors will find exclusive access to new photographic works both from emerging and established photographers in Santa Fe and around the world.
Monroe Gallery of Photography specializes in classic black & white photography with an emphasis on humanist and photojournalist imagery. The gallery features work by more than 50 renowned photographers and also represents a select group of contemporary and emerging photographers, some of the best photography the 20th and 21st century have to offer. Sidney and Michelle Monroe maintain extensive personal connections with important photographers, clients, collectors, dealers, estates, auction houses, and archives world-wide. They have consulted with photographers, estates, and archives to curate and organize programs and exhibitions. They advise private collectors, museums and corporations with an emphasis on building significant collections with a variety of prudent focuses. They are acknowledged experts on the life and work of numerous important photographers, including several famed LIFE Magazine photojournalists, such as Margaret Bourke-White, Carl Mydans, and Alfred Eisenstaedt. http://www.monroegallery.com/
Photo-Eye was founded in 1979 by Rixon Reed. It is the world’s foremost online photography bookstore featuring over 30000 fine-art photography books. It has since grown to also become one of the world’s foremost website devoted to contemporary photography and the photo-eye Gallery was established in Santa Fe New Mexico in 1991 as a division of photo-eye and has been selling prints online since 1996. https://www.photoeye.com
Alan Ross is an internationally respected master photographer and educator who worked side-by-side with Ansel Adams. He continues to be the exclusive printer of the Yosemite Special Edition negatives, an assignment Adams selected him for personally in 1975. Alan makes each print by hand from Adams’ original negatives using traditional darkroom techniques. As an artist, Alan is known for his tonally exquisite black-and-white photographs of the American west. His photographs are in collections and galleries around the world including Houston’s Museum of fine Arts, The Yale Museum of Art and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. He teaches about the art of seeing and is also a master printer. https://www.alanrossphotography.com/
Scheinbaum & Russek, are celebrating 38 years in business and they specialize in 20th century vintage and contemporary photography as well as representing the Estates of Beaumont and Nancy Newhall and Eliot Porter. Scheinbaum & Russek have approached the gallery world through their roles as educators, artists, and collectors and bring to their gallery an appreciation of photographers, the fine print and the history of photography. http://www.photographydealers.com
Jennifer Schlesinger, Owner and Director of Obscura Gallery, is a Curator, Gallerist, Educator, and Artist. Schlesinger has approached her fine art photography with an interest in how the historical development of photography has influenced the contemporary artistic medium – mostly exploring the 19th century albumen and 20th century gelatin silver printing processes and combining them with contemporary landscape surrealism. Obscura Gallery represents the finest contributions to the history of photography both through contemporary and vintage works. https://www.jenniferschlesinger.com/https://www.obscuragallery.net
Every Photograph Has a Story: The Photograph Itself, The Photographer’s and The Viewers’: Some of the prints available on the website include the story behind them. For example, “The Carnival Stopped” is from one of the “Roadside America” trips along Virginia’s eastern shore where I was regularly exiting the highway to check out the villages, sea marsh and fishing boats. In Wachapreague, Virginia, population 230, the fishing boats were either all out at work or gone forever. I am not sure. The docks and handling facilities appeared to be in a state of disrepair, worn out or shut down. But there at the corner of Atlantic Rd. and Ice Plant Street, was the carnival. Not a soul to be seen. But there it was…a carnival stopped – a place of fun and community gathering but a little eery and ghost-like. Much like the fishing town itself.
In Henry Carroll’s new book, “Photographers on Photography, How the Masters See, Think & Shoot,” I was struck by this quote:
“When a person looks at a photograph you’ve taken, they will always think of themselves” Jason Fulford
Henry Carroll in is commentary notes, “right after we interpret the literal aspects of the image…we enter into a second, much personal meaning. The second reading is informed by elements such as our memories, personal experiences, tastes and cultural backgrounds…this second reading is unpredictable and entirely outside the photographer’s control. For Fulford, this gap between what is pictured and what it might mean is where photographs come alive”
There is an image on the website whose owner described it “art that stirs his soul.” For yet another owner, their print has an intimate feeling, and a nostalgic tone with a sense of timelessness. It is their views that give the images meaning and excitement.
“The quickest way to kill your art, according to Haring, is to rigidly define it. “There is no need for definition,” he wrote. “Definition can be the most dangerous, destructive tool the artist can use when he is making art for a society of individuals.” That’s not to say an artist can’t have certain concepts or themes in mind when creating an artwork. But the “artist’s ideas are not essential to the art as seen by the viewer.…The viewer does not have to be considered during the conception of the art, but should not be told, then, what to think or how to conceive it or what it means.”
This idea went hand in hand with his belief that artists should consider more than just the art world. “The viewer should be able to look at art and respond to it without wondering whether he ‘understands’ it. It does not aim to be understood! Who ‘understands’ any art?.…Nobody knows what the ultimate meaning of my work is because there is none.…It exists to be understood only as an individual response.”
Bringing Images to Life with Real Meaning: It is these kinds of personal reflections that turn the literal stories behind the images into your art. That is what brings an image to life and gives it real meaning.
https://binhammerphotographs.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/The-carnival-stopped-e1543505958422.jpg545782Richard Binhammerhttps://binhammerphotographs.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Binhammer_logo-300x82.pngRichard Binhammer2019-01-10 10:52:342019-01-10 11:42:19Every Photograph Has a Story
I’ve been reading Henry Carroll’s new book, “Photographers on Photography, How the Masters See, Think & Shoot”. He takes a look at the influential figures from past and present who pushed photography forward. Through a selection of quotations, photographs and interviews he offers insights into the minds of masters and examines the approach to the craft and what matters. His U.K. publishers have a blog post with some lovely excerpts which feature a selection of images from the book that serve as brief introductions to the big ideas and collective viewpoints on thought-provoking photography. The book is a great read.
Rather than a chronological storyline, the book is organized around thoughts about photography by photographers. It is a sort of an introduction and examination of the philosophical aspects of photography using quotes, iconic images and Carroll’s own commentary. There is no delineation by chapter of which specific philosophical underpinnings of photography are being explored (rather the book “chapters” are simply a list of the photographers by name). While Carroll’s selection of quotes and commentary leads you on a path, he leaves the interpretations open to the reader. In this respect the book is like a series of thought starters for you about how you think about and view photographs. While I am still reading the book and continuing to digest it, here are some of my takeaways on some of the perspectives offered in the book:
The camera as machine…and the linkage between man, emotion, art and a machine
Pictures, photographs, prints and the parameters around each of them
Photographic consumption and the digital world we live in today
The image as a reality, a selected segment of reality, a past or an emotion and how these combinations may inter-relate
The diversity of photographers’ views of their own image making (i.e. photographs are taken as a whim, to feature a subject or to say something more). Is the photographer driven by the making of a political statement, reporting and/or emotional expression?
What and/or who gives a photograph meaning: the photographer? the subject? and/or the viewer? or the context? This was discussed for fully in my email newsletter, in case you want to subscribe to future emails for commentary about photography, and even some special offerings that are available to subscribers. Subscribe on my the bottom at the contact page
The power of photography…or not
Be prepared…the book forces you to think and often raises more questions than answering them. In some cases you flip a page and the next page contradicts the page before it….it forces you to think about the different perspectives and approaches to photography.
This is a great book. It is an enjoyable, thought-provoking, informative read that takes you into the world of thinking about photography for collectors and photographers.
Here’s a video of Henry Carroll talking about the book…his challenges putting it together and what it is all about. Enjoy the video. Enjoy the book.