September 24, 2010

Is Photographing Art, Art?

Look | Sensory Inspiration

Three plus decades ago my high school photo class friends and I studied many photographers. However, the work of Tommy Alcorn (a young American photographer whose life was cut short by an accident at age 17) inspired and captivated us.  The black and white images were lyrical and seemed to probe the meaning of life.  Plus, he was a teen like us.

How old the tree?
When I took this image of a Civil War monument last winter in Deerfield, Mass., it reminded me that Mr. Alcorn had photographed statues in France and Italy.  The monument, erected in 1867 and constructed of brown freestone, is topped by a Union soldier who at some point lost his rifle.  Generations before Alcorn, French photographer Eugene Atget often chose such static subject matter. 

Bacchante and Infant Faun (1890)
I took this image of a Frederick MacMonnies bronze sculpture about a week later at The Clark art institute in Williamstown, Mass.  I used an old roll (circa 1997) of ISO 1600 film and only recently dropped it off for developing.

Atget, Alcorn and Me
When I saw the prints I pulled out my Atget and Alcorn books, both out of print, with varying degrees of page yellowing indicating relative and absolute age.

Deep connection I feel here, to my past, to the past.  

Tech Tips: Ansco Pix Panorama camera, no settings to set, 1600 ISO Fuji Neopan film processed and scanned at CTC/Vermont Color labs via Forbes Photo and Frame in Greenfield, Mass.