"The Everydayness of Life"
George Tice is one of my photographic heroes. Not only is he a spectacularly fine printer but his photographs are very much about the everdayness of Life. Mine, too. This month's print of the month is a straight ahead portrait of a pretty girl ("Meh, I've seen a thousand of 'em.") It's another addition to my "Face of the Market" series.
While printing this yesterday I was thinking of another of my heroes, Willy Ronis. He often described a negative as "very backlighted -- just the way l like them". He was right of course -- backlight often makes it possible to pop the subject away from the background (like this one). That doesn't mean that it makes it easier to print. He also often added "very difficult negative." Yep.
I've been participating in a Zoom conversation with a group of mostly Portland-based photographers. Sharing photographs as jpegs on a computer screen is, well, less satisfactory than seeing a lovely print "in person" but it's better than not seeing it at all. One of the participants does tintype portraits. One of his sitters commented that his was the first photograph that "looks like me." After bit of gnawing on this comment we agreed that it was due to the fact that a tintype (what comes out of the camera is the finished product) is reversed left-to-right like your image in a mirror. If you are most familiar with your face as seen in a mirror it is likely to be what you regard as "looking like me".
Not being one to leave an idea alone until I have pounded it flat, I printed portraits of two lovely young sisters as I usually print and then turned the negatives over and printed them again -- reversed left-to-right. I then asked (through their mom) to have each girl select the one that looks-like-me and the one that looks-like-my-sister. Girl A selected the reversed image as looks-like-me and the regular image as looks-like-my-sister. Girl B selected the regular image for both. Hmmmm. Conversation with their mom yielded that Girl A is more attentive to her mirror image than Girl B. Sample size one suggests that it's a viable theory. (I was hoping that several other of the photographers involved would experiment too but, alas not.)
Speaking of portraits of pretty girls. This one is yet another vendor at the Pike Place Market. The first time I photographed her she told me that "I never take a good picture." That drives me nuts. My standard, ego-rich response is "Well, then you need a better photographer."
I took her a print of the first photograph I took of her and she was hemming and hawing about well it's ok and ... but ... Her colleague from across the aisle wandered over to see what we were talking about. She took one look at the photograph and said "Stephanie! Get a grip! That is a lovely picture of you!"
This was the third time I photographed her.
Each quarter the Highline Heritage Museum in nearby Burien features a highline area artist. Last Spring, March 3 to be exact, I hung a show of about 50 prints at the museum. On March 4 the museum closed for the pandemic.
It is now reopening. There will be members-only events this coming weekend that included a virtual reception for my exhibit. I asked that my reception be postponed and opened to all who register. It will be on November 21. I will send out a link to the virtual reception as soon as I have it.