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The Hidden World of the Nearby

i. introduction


1974 to 2021: More than one turn of the wheel.

Writing about a collection of original photography begun in 1974 and still on-going is not a simple task. Adding to that an intense pursuit of the best printing methods beginning with technology from the 1930s to the latest digital printers is perhaps even more difficult. Both these stories span great evolutions in technology and I was involved in all that applied to my work.

My body of work begins with 4" x 5" Ektachrome E3 but today is based on a 42 mpx digital camera. (Note that E3 films had series fading problems. Shortly after I began shooting E3 was replaced by E6 which has an almost indefinite life (no signs of fading yet and tests show life of hundreds of years at refrigerator temperatures.) My printing began with dye transfer, a process developed in the 1930s along with Technical movie filme. I began dye transfer printing in 1978 and continued until Kodak discontinued the process in 1993. This was followed by a ten year exploration of alternative processes until the arrival of suitable digital printers in 2005.

These technologies were, of course, in service to the images I was creating. That process began in 1974 and involved the exposure of 20,000 sheets of 4" x 5" transparency film shooting the natural landscape. It evolved into new ways of dealing with digital cameras and drum scanners to create wholly different kinds of work and not, for the most part, simply replacing the 4" x 5" with stitched digital images.

One part of my current effort is to reprint images made in the 1970s with the dye transfer process either from digital files from my drum scanner or with my current method of rephotographing the transparency with my digital camera. I am doing this in parallel with ongoing experiments in digital manipulations of originally film images. All of this, of course, is in combination with creating an archive of my work with a bit of explanation on this web site.

My work in photography is a second career. It follows a life-long interest in high-fidelity music systems that evolved into the study of psychoacoutsics at MIT and my first job as the fifth (5th) employee of Bose Corporation. Professor Bose had been my faculty advisor and when I chose not to complete my work for a PhD he offered me my first job. I was employed by Bose for 23 years which overlapped my photography career by 16 years. The transition was aided by working one half time at Bose Corporation for my final eight years.

The image below is one of my first. It was made in Anchorage, Alaska in 1978 courtesy of a business trip to Japan for Bose Corporation that permitted a stopover in Anchorage. The image was made in July after I exited the back country after siting a black bear near a lake I was hoping to photograph. I found the foxtail grass alongside a back road returning from the lake visit.

The essence of how I learned to photograph the landscape was to begin shooting everywhere I thought might be interesting. I tell a bit more about this in the biography section.

Textures In Grass I
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