Diary of an Exhibition, Part 5

The final preparations in getting the entire show together completely took over the dining room, living room and any remaining surface space in the darkroom. My approach avoidance regarding spotting prints fell away, having been replaced by a loud, incessant ticking sound coming from inside my head. You know how you’re thinking “I’ll just take care of those two dust spots,” and 14 spots later you’re done? Wasn’t traumatic though.

PR: postcards had been designed by the Live-in Design Team during the last week, and we all had a pleasant chat at the printer’s on Sunday; the proof was viewed and approved Monday; the shipment was ready Tuesday, but was far from acceptable due to wacky inking from an out-of-control machine. Words were exchanged; veiled threats were politely insinuated; the job was redone. We’re all buddies again.

Sunday, I spent half the day looking for four pictures that were mislaid in the mayhem (sound familiar?). As usual, in an unguarded moment, whilst getting out something else for another purpose, they miraculously presented themselves. Framing the second half of the load took from roughly 7:00 Wednesday to 1:30 Thursday morning. That was OK: the jazz show comes on the radio at midnight. Win/win again!

Thursday at 4:00 Kelly and Lisa, the ones supervising the gallery program for the library, met me there to hang the show. Gracious, laughing, “retentive” (their term): they were all those things. Any doubts or second-guessing went out the proverbial window as they wielded their laser leveling device on each piece. It all looks swell. Go see it. If you can, go Friday the 13th at 7:00 for the reception; again, if you’re in my class, bring yer own cookie.

The Gospel According to Garry, #1

Garry Winogrand, the man who had a major exhibit from beyond the grave, said photographers should do three things: shoot a lot, get critiqued, and look at intelligent work.

Let’s consider the last first. What’s a lot? Winogrand wasn’t specific, although he himself was known to burn through twenty rolls a day with his Leica. Typically we aim for a roll of film, minimum, per project in class (more when we take an entire day out of school for a field trip). Some of us are dissatisfied with negatives and shoot more; others among us simply want more frames from which to choose, and augment what they have as a regular practice. In Garry’s words (I call him Garry), “The more I do, the more I do. It’s a pleasure.”


An effective strategy when shooting, which emphasizes photography’s ability to render the world in two dimensions, is to imagine the future print as an assembly of elements on a two-dimensional plane; a collage, if you will, without resorting to a longer focal length (which rather crudely flattens space and draws attention to itself), so that the whole image is more than its parts.

These pictures are by Henri Cartier-Bresson. He and his Leica go back to the early thirties in some cases. As a journalist, he was able to travel extensively, and there is no doubt that he was looking through his viewfinder at the finished print to a large extent.

Ray Metzker, on the other hand, steeped in the philosophy of the Institute of Design in Chicago and benefitting from having Aaron Siskind, frederick Sommer and Harry Callahan as teachers, takes a cooler approach, and even resorts to making scenes as well as finding them.

Frederick Sommer, who liked to consider thinking about thinking and images about images, said that “Image is display; display is position.” Many of the above examples could be seen as images about images; when you volunteer the names of other photographers you’ve found who work in a similar collage-y vein, make your comments here for the restivus rest of us.


I’ve been font-fighting on this blawwg for all of January. Parts of posts don’t match despite any variety of editing strategies; a URL moved to the end of a post and insists on remaining there. “It’s drivin’ me crazy, it’s drivin’ me nuts!”* Anybody have advice, or suggestions? Later in February I’ll wrestle again. For now, what with the library and ICCI and the new semester with a new, new improved 36-day quarter, I’ll just enter directly rather than prepare elsewhere and then upload. Thanks for listening.

*A William Burroughs quote from “Sharkey’s Day/Night” on a Laurie Anderson recording