K&C Auto Cleaning, AK 2013

K&C Auto Cleaning, AK 2013

Almost 30 years ago now I picked up a biography about Alfred Stieglitz by Sue Davidson Lowe. This was an important book for me, and over the years I have read it several times. It was at the beginning of my career and an introduction to a pivotal time in photographic history. Being a pure force of nature, Stieglitz moved photography from the 19th to the 20th Century. However, the idea that I kept coming back to time and time again as I read the book was the photographic and artistic community that Stieglitz surrounded himself with. The group of artists that surrounded him feed off each other and I believe that anyone of them would not be as well known without the association of the others. What I am sure is more important is that there was the opportunity for an exchange of ideas that influenced their work in a positive way. Ansel Adams and Edward Weston had Group 64, and Hemmingway had the ex-patriot writers in Paris, there are many more examples of these types of supporting communities. Nothing is created in a vacuum.

25 years ago I was attracted to Crealde School of Art because I found an artistic community within the school that was giving and supportive of this neophyte that imposed himself on them. It was very important in my development as a photographer to not only have available the Photography Faculty, but also those in all the medias studied at Crealde. I would often show my work to the Creamics Teachers to get their perspective. I owe them all a great deal.

Recently however, I learned that my artistic community is even more important than the role they played in my personal growth as an artist. During a recent trip I became very ill and was just able to make it home before spending about 3 weeks in the hospital. While I knew that a few would come by to see me as I recover,  I was overwhelmed with the responce of many people at the school who brought me several hours of uplifting joy by coming to see me. While in the hospital I felt detached and unconnected with photography, art and in turn life and  frankly it left a hole in my soul. The visits by my artist friends began the process to fill that hole. This is an example of an artistic community at its best and I am most grateful.



Filed under Wanderings

7 responses to “Community

  1. itsmewilly

    I just went over your “wanderings” section again. The one about missing or not missing the darkroom is interesting to me. What you say about the misconception that you only have to push a button and the camera does the rest is so true.

    • Since this question is really about an eariler blog, I hope that I am addressing your comment. After almost 30 years of doing film and darkroom, in 2008 I converted to digital. It made sense to me for a large number of reasons, which I am not going to get into now, but in the end this is what I feel about the feelings that digital photography is somehow easier and more disconnected to the act of making an image than film and the darkroom was. First, digital, by verture of the fact that it has a light gathering system, thus by defination, it is a photographic process. For me making an image is a procedure that is a means to an end. While I think that the process is a very important part of the process of making an image, what is really important is the things that I bring to that process and how I use that process to translate what I see in my mind, heart and soul. How I get there is the process, whether it is film, digital, paint, or clay, whatever. The vaule of my work is not in media but rather than what I give to the image that makes it unique, assuming I did my job right. I do not miss the darkroom that much, but then I am very thankful for the experiences that I had with film and the darkroom as it has played a very important role in my time as a digital photographer. I hope that this helps.

      • itsmewilly

        Your thoughts about the old-fashioned “dark room way” and the digital way of processing an image are almost like a relieve to me. I grew up with film and with the dark room and this digital stuff feels almost like cheating to me. I’m glad you don’t see it that way……

  2. itsmewilly

    I didn’t read the bio of Stieglitz , but I do have several bios of his wife that are equally interesting. Stieglitz and O’Keeffe, fascinating reading ! I cut out many a photo by Stieglitz, also Penn, from Life Magazine, Still have them.

  3. Nice to meet you too. Sharing of ideas and other topics is like giving a gift to each other. Thank you for your gifts Rick.

  4. Naymond

    take care of your self and hope to see you soon back at School when you are able.

  5. Hello precious friend, so darn happy to see this post!! Sorry I missed our weekend call, I will call you this coming weekend! Hope you are having a good week. Think about you every hour, every day.

    My folks send their love!

    Love you!

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