2015 was a good year in photography for me. I was lucky and honored to participate in several exhibits, a portfolio of my “Subway Pictures” was published in Black & White magazine, one of my photos won a prize in the “Maine Photo Show” and my work was part of several reviews by Daniel Kany in the Audience Section of the Maine Sunday Telegram. (March 15th, the 3Fish Exhibit, and October 4th (The 3 City exhibit at UNE). I was happy about the reviews, ( in one review Kany referred to my photographs as “Gritty” , in the other one he called one of my photographs “Gorgeous”) I found the way he described my work pretty satisfying. It is not Kany’s job to make me feel satisfied about my work but if it does, I don’t object. In both reviews he brought up the matter of “photographing people without their consent” which is a perfectly legitimate subject to bring up, certainly as it pertains to my work. In one of the reviews, while commenting on one of the photographs of a sex worker in Amsterdam, he observed that the window in which the subject was situated had a “No Photography” sign in it. So why did I take the photograph? In the Three City show he refers to my “Covert” subway shot of a tough guy in a white shirt. He finds the photograph “Gorgeous” but with an “odd punctuation” about questionable permission. Let me first say that I think bringing up the question of permission in documentary or street photography is timely especially in these times where the privacy versus safety issues are the talk of the day. So the subject is close to my heart because when doing such work I find myself often in situations where getting permission for certain shots is impossible, mostly because if the subject is being made aware, the photograph would cease to exist. Documentary and street photographers photograph the world around them. They photograph the human condition and human behavior. In most instances when a spontaneous opportunity for such a photograph occurs the subject of such a photograph would ideally be unaware that a picture is being taken. If there were awareness people would “act” and not behave naturally. We usually photograph in the public domain, (and if not, permission should be granted) and (especially) these days, one could hardly expect privacy while spending time in public places. We live in a society of rules and, while in public, as members of this society, there is an expectation that we behave according to these rules. If we deviate from these rules it is done at our own risk. So if one gets photographed while misbehaving in public, I’d say that would be too bad. Besides, today we get photographed more often than we realize. There are security cameras every where. Legally there is no problem taking photographs in public places in most countries, although the rules may vary somewhat from country to country. There are pretty clear rules about how to use these photographs. (Commercial use, editorial use etc.) Historically the “photograph taken in public” without permission has been an important part of the medium. We can go back to the 1938 “Subway Portraits” by Walker Evans. He covered up his camera with a cardboard box while taking his famous subway portraits. It does not seem that Bruce Davidson asked for permission for his 1980 “Subway, N.Y.C.” shot. Helen Levitt photographed street children “without being seen by them”, and had a major exhibit of these photographs at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943. Both Robert Frank and William Klein often photographed their subjects without even looking though the view finder!
In war photography it does not seem likely that Robert Capa got permission from the “Republican Soldier” before he was shot dead during the Spanish Civil War or for that matter from the soldiers dying at Omaha Beach. Other examples of photographers not asking permission from their subjects are Garry Winogrant, Joel Meyerowitz, Friedlander, Arbus, Cartier Bresson and Salgado. There are too many other examples to mention. I agree that we photographers have a duty to portray our subjects with honesty, that we don’t misrepresent them or make them look or appear anything else than what they are. To intrude into a private space and photograph people in that privacy without permission should be and is illegal and is at least unethical. If we want to portray and lay witness to the world around us we should do so with integrity and honesty.
After the exhibit: “Tale of Three Cities” at the UNE art Gallery came down an exhibit called: ” Portraits of the Artist” opened at that gallery. It was also curated by Steve Halpert. The show featured photographic portraits of artists taken by both the famous photographers (Todd Webb, Berenice Abbott, Arnold Newman) as well as current Maine photographers such as Dave Wade, Doug Bruns etc. and myself. In all the show featured about 130 photographs by about 30 artists. I was happy to be able to present twelve photographs, all of local artists including Robert Solotaire, Lissa Hunter , my wife Andrea and my son Chris. The show was well received and will run through February 7th, 2016.
During the month of November photographer Dan Dow and myself showed some work at the 3fish Gallery in Portland (Cumberland Ave). The exhibit was simply called “Current Work” and featured new work almost all printed on watercolor paper. My work was mostly derived from Polaroid Transfer work. Below is an image of my piece called: ” Venus Dissected and Re-assembled”. The gold around the image was gold paint. The piece was framed in a gold frame.
This year started out with the March show of Addison Woolley at 3Fish gallery in Portland. I was happy the show got an interesting review by Daniel Kany in the Audience Section of the Maine Sunday Telegram of March 15.
The photo exhibit: “Highways and Byways” at the Lewis Gallery in Portland was very successful and I was proud to be a part of it. At the same time I have work in the Bruce Brown Collection show at the Pace Galleries of Art at Fryeburg Academy.
Black &White magazine published four of my New York Subway photographs in their issue 110 (Portfolio Contest Issue) which has been available in the bookstores since the beginning of June.
You will also be able to view (or purchase) my work in the Kingman Gallery in Deer Isle. The Kingman Gallery is one of the few art galleries in Maine specializing only in photography. Check out their website: www.kingmangallery.com
Vox Photographs in Portland was showing one of my pieces in their show: “Natural”, which ran from March 26 through May 6th and another piece in the show: “Vacationland” which will show through August 20th.
From July 28th through September 25th at the Art Gallery of the University of New England I will be participating in the exhibit: “A Tale of Three Cities, Paris, New York, Portland” curated by Steve Halpert. The exhibit features photographs of these three cities by photographers from Maine. It promises to be an exciting exhibit!
This spring we were in Italy. Tried to photograph Venice in an less touristy way. It is always tempting to photograph the gondolas near the Piazza San Marco with Santa Maria della Salute in the background, but it has been done a million times! It does not require one to be original. I did it anyway, but then I took some other Venice photographs that I hope were of a more original view point.
See?, this makes for a nice enough postcard at best. But everyone has done it. I had more fun printing these shots, laundry in the Jewish neighborhood of Venice. No Gondola’s this time around!
And then this mysterious fellow!
Or this night color shot!
You can find some more of my Italian stuff in the “Travel” gallery!
Vox Photographs has an exhibition at their location on 334 Forest Ave in Portland. It is an exhibit celebrating spring, called “Natural” . I am showing a print called “Rain Forest” which you can see on this website in the Gallery: Alternative Processes. The exhibit runs from March 26 through May 6th.
You can see more of the exhibit on www.voxphotographs.com
From May 1st though May 30, CMCA is sponsoring an exhibit of photographs, curated by Bruce Brown, called “Highways & Byways” in the Lewis Gallery (Portland Public Library). I feel fortunate to have had some photographs chosen to be part of this this exhibit. The photograph below, called: “View from the Brouwer” is one of the photographs selected for this exhibit. The Brouwer is a hotel in Amsterdam where we have stayed from time to time. The owners claim to have a room where Rembrandt slept at one time!
In 1966 I was a young Merchant Marine Officer in the service of the K.N.S.M or the “Royal Dutch Steamship Company”. We would frequently make trips to the West Coast of South America, picking up and delivering freight to harbors in countries from Columbia to Chile. Recently I found some 2 1/4 negatives that I took during one of those trips. I think most of the pictures were taken in Chile and maybe some in Peru. Although I did take some photographs from time to time I did not consider myself a serious photographer at the time. Looking at these early photographs I am surprised to recognize the way I “see” when I take photographs nowadays.
On Friday March 6th at the 3fish gallery on Cumberland Ave in Portland we will have the reception for the March exhibit of the Addison Woolley Group!
I will be showing photographs from the series “Red Lights” mostly taken last year in Amsterdam. Some of these photographs appeared earlier in this blog, some you will find in the Color Gallery, some in the Black & White Gallery. Hope to see some of you at the reception!
In September 2014 I will be participating in two new exhibits: Vox Photographs will have an exhibit called URBAN, which is going to be shown at their new location oat 334 Forest Avenue in Portland. The opening reception will be on September 18th from 4 t0 7 pm. I will be showing an Archival Pigment Print from a Polaroid Transfer. It is called Harbor Lunch and shows the facade of the old restaurant on Commercial Street in Portland. On the right is Pearl Street and the Customs House.
The other exhibit will be at ” Engine” in Biddeford and is by the Addison Woolley Group and is also addressing the Urban subject matter. The name of the show is “Text + Texture, an Urban Canvas”. The opening reception is on September 26th from 5 to 8 and the show will run till November 22nd. Walking through Biddeford it is not easy to get inspired. The town needs work, there is an effort going on to revitalize some of the wonderful old mills. I found a local working class pub called “Pops” where it was pretty lively, even at about 1 pm. There was a great atmosphere of people having a good time and knowing each other well. People were friendly and welcoming, even to a photographer they did not know.
We also spent a week on the Beach, in Ocean Park, Maine, the week after Labor Day, when most tourists have left and the beaches again belong to the locals. The weather was great and the beach , as always, gives great opportunity to shoot. There is always the sea, the beach with its low tides, the changing weather patters and the people.. Here is a shot I took of some of the beach occupants that day. I like the shot because all the birds fall into the top portion of the photo, the man is all in the bottom part with the dark ocean as back ground while luckily his head does not get cut off by the horizon. The sun lights his body perfectly. His arms give you the feel that he is conducting the orchestra of nature.
On November 7th the Addison Woolley Group will have another exhibit at 3 Fish gallery on Cumberland Avenue in Portland. I am showing 12 small photographs, all in the style of my book “Slices of Time, Documenting the Random Moments of Life”
The book was published in 2011 and the small collection of photographs I am showing in this exhibit is an ongoing extension of the same thought. I am showing 5 photographs of Paris, 2014, three of Ocean Park (see above), and four photographs of China (2013).
The one below was taken in Yichang, China.
I have updated some of the galleries. A number of NYC subway shots were added to the Black & White /Street gallery. Lately I have been doing quite a few of these and I am intending to eventually put them in a separate gallery. I added some 2 1/4 work to the “New Stuff” gallery. These are silver gelatin prints that I made of my garden vegetables last year.
Recently, coming back from a trip to the Netherlands and France, I also added some shots from that trip. In Paris, near the famous Rodin sculpture of “the Kiss” I noticed two older people sit behind it and probably contemplate their youth (added in the B&W gallery)
While In Amsterdam when strolling through the historic (it served the purpose way back in the 17th century) red light district, I could not help but to photograph some of the activities going on.., I loved the reflections in the windows, showing the action in the street. These I kept in color, maybe later to be added to a series called “Red Lights” .
Some of this work will be exhibited this June. The subway work will be shown at 3fish on 377 Cumberland Ave in a show with the Addison Woolley Group. It will run through June and the opening reception will be on first Friday, June 6th from 5 to 8 pm. The subway photographs are a nod to the wonderful 1938 “Subway Portraits ” by Walker Evans. It is strange to compare the differences and similarities between a subway ride in 1938 and in 2013. You will find “class” disappears in the subway, everyone in their own world, many people packed in but still by themselves, reading their own stuff, listening to their own music and alone with their own thoughts.
My Garden Vegetables will be shown at “The Pilates Center of Maine”. It is a group show with photographs by Chris Church, installations by Christine Williams, etchings by Andrea van Voorst van Beest and my own vegetable photographs. Reception is from 5 to 8 pm during the artwalk on June 6th. The Center is located at 44 Oak Street, on the corner of Free Street.
Because Polaroid Film is not available anymore I have been using Fuji instant film to make transfers. The process is a bit different, you use dry receptors instead of wet and some of the process has to be done in the darkroom. The emulsion is a bit different but the overall results can be quite satisfying. Here is a shot of some Monarch Butterflies that I took a year ago in the mountains of Michoacan in Mexico. Added in the Alternative Processes gallery you will also find a transfer composite (Mozaic) of the Great Wall of China and some other “Fuji” transfers. These will also be available printed in larger sizes (22×30 and some 30×40) as Archival Pigment Prints, printed on Canson Edition non coated acid free paper.
In the “Alternative Process” gallery you will also find some botanical images in Black and White, these will also be printed and available in large format Archival Pigment Prints.
Two of my images will be in the “Images of Change” exhibit, organized by Greater Portland Landmarks, curated by Suzan Danly , Bruce Brown and Earle Shettleworth.
Here shown is the image of the big old tree (Beech?) in the yard of St Luke’s Cathedral in Portland. The exhibit will open in January at the Lewis Gallery located in the Portland Library.