THE SEVENTIES

 

During the seventies I continued to experiment but with more discipline and direction. Using fewer films, papers and developers, I concentrated on both the print and the seeing. A less scatter shot approach to picture making and a concentration on projects. Groups of photographs became more interesting to me. I had portfolios of pictures, one made while visiting another photographer in Puerto Rico.

This image is from the Indian Cave at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. You had to climb down a ladder to get to the cave floor. I had my 4x5 view camera, tripod, lenses and film holders. I put in my super wide angle f8 lens and could not see a thing on the ground glass. I then put in a less wide angle f6.8 lens and could not see a thing on the ground glass. I then put in my “normal” f5.6 lens and could see some of the brighter parts of the image and made a couple of exposures. It was pretty dark down there!

 

Another group, almost an essay, of pictures taken while visiting my home town, Youngstown, Ohio. Another group, almost an essay, of pictures taken while visiting my home town, Youngstown, Ohio. Our father had had a heart attack and survived and Frank and I went back to see him and mom. Frank drove me around and we visited childhood haunts and looked at the mills. Which is what the landscape in Youngstown was.

After living in New York we could see that Youngstown had little to offer us. I used  4x5 and 35mm cameras  and shot only black and white. I was pleased with the way some of pictures came out. Just as I expected.

 

The landscape of twentieth century America had a visual fascination for me. Steel mills, other factories both working and abandoned, railroads, locomotives, flatcars, reefers, smoke stacks, all of that and more. I felt at home among workers. In strange towns I gravitated to places where workers ate and drank and bought work clothes and the ethnic neighborhoods they lived in. I still feel that way.

No doubt because of the enchantment generated by looking at the work of Eliot Porter, Bret and Edward Weston, Ansel Adams nature photography became a more satisfying project. Using mostly large format I was firmly in the f64 school. Sharp with a long range of tones was my goal.

I found a path that might result in how I wanted my physical print to look. Deliberately ignoring the ugly Kodak papers and using DuPont and GAF but still experimenting with paper developers, and adding chemicals to the developer to extend the range of tones for example.

I first started to have some of my photographs exhibited at some of the very small Galleries that were around at that time in New York City, The ones ran by Jacob Deschin for the Modern Age Photo Processors.

 

I looked at every venue for photographs and at all places that showed works on paper and any prints. I became enchanted with the Japanese woodblock print makers like Hiroshige and Hokusai. Rembrandt etchings were  the best black and white work I had ever seen. I had also seen some blackand white lithographs, I believe by Picasso that I had never seen in a book. And I was smitten with those.

 

As a photographer I was looking to find the picture. As an artist I became more interested in composing the picture.

 

Striving to make prints that were both beautiful and archival and to possess an image that I could not improve on was my goal.

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