Friday, January 11, 2019

Student and Teacher Dialog

Shawn Rowe

Tue, Jan 8, 8:06 PM

Hi Shawn -

V arrived today. I'm in the early stages of digesting it. Enjoying what I see.

It reminds me some of Minor White's sequences, leaving a lot for the viewer to experience and puzzle over. Not a specified sequence, but more a feeling of an intimate view of how the photographer sees the world.
I have signed up for your portrait class at Lillstreet starting at the end of February. Do you have any suggestions for getting a jump start in advance of the class?


Jan 9, 2019, 8:46 PM

Hi Larry,

Glad you're enjoying the book!  I'm excited to hear that you will be attending my portrait class next month.  I think you'll really enjoy it.  It sounds like you're already fairly proficient in your photography history.  My only suggestion would be to photograph people as much as you can between now and then.  We'll start the class by bringing in examples of past work as well as examples of other's photographs that you admire.  The more examples you have to start with the easier it will be to zero in on what you're interested in and we can work to develop that.  Looking forward to the class!


Thu, Jan 10, 9:53 PM

Thanks, Shawn, I like your suggestions...

I've been taking some time with V... Looking... Wondering...

Who are these people? How am, the outside viewer, relating to them? What is the experience/intention of the photographer? What is the subject's story? Was there a script before hand? Is this an exploration that unfolded over time? Or was it created after the fact, editing across a body of images, pulled out of their original context? Or???

There seems to be a spiraling narrative that starts up close in black and white, moves through the elements, water, air, connecting, disappearing, loss, remembered touch, ending in a field of fire.

The shiny black surfaces act as a mirror to the facing images. It took a really good printer for that to work. Nice.

I personally relate to the male and male-male presence throughout the story. Echos of a younger self. Or am I seeing what I want to see?

Your note at the end talks about exploring gender.. In that context, I'm taking a fresh look. What assumptions am I making? What is being shown about the subjects, the angles when gender is unknown and a projection of the observer?

There is an intimacy in the images of the solo subjects and between the pairs. Or is that also my projection?

In searching the web for more background on you, I came across this quote from an interview with Kelli Connell:
"By making these photographs, I was able to express the self-questioning that was going on in my real life. I was seduced by the power of the photograph to raise questions, all the while appearing to be a document of truth."
... It's rattling around in my mind... the power... to raise questions... while appearing to be... truth.
Photo: Larry Wolf, January 2019, shot at Gallery19

How does this relate to my own re-connecting with photography? Most of my photographs are an intuitive framing and choosing a moment, sometimes conscious of considering or trying different angles or point of focus or depth or field. Sometimes documenting a moment or looking to please the subject with a "good" likeness. Other times "making art" that catches something from below the surface.

A few months ago, I dusted off an old micro four-thirds camera and started using it again. Real controls. A pair of lenses. Options and choices. Coming off of autopilot. I think the class will move me deeper into this.

I'm looking forward to the class. I bet it shows :-)

Fri, Jan 11, 6:08 PM

Hi Larry,

Your emails are so poetic. I deeply appreciate that you are taking your time with the book, thinking critically about it and making your own connections and drawing your own conclusions. This is exactly what I was hoping the audience would do. I’m also glad to see that you’re doing some of your own research in order to further understand.

When making your own photographs it’s important to consider your audience and how they will perceive your work. Happy to hear you’re going back to basics in terms of your gear, sometimes it best to slow down in order to consider what is most important when making images.


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