Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Early Photo Launched A Distinct Course

During the late 1960's when the Peace Movement & Love Generation established a foothold upon society, I too got caught-up in the hoopla. Being a former art student and most recently a drop-out, I sought alternatives for seeking a future career. I was fortunate to be hired as a valet driver for a Life Magazine photographer and L.A. Times Journalist that were in Memphis to cover the death of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With the money earned for my valet services, I was inspired to go straight to the camera store to purchase a camera and test my skills. And oh, what a long and adventurous ride that launched for my creative urges. With a wealth of photo opportunities, I taught myself self to seek and explore those early trials for success or failure. Fortunately, the opportunity proved successful and doors would later open proving my intuition correct. From those very days is one of my all-time favorite photos titled; "Mary Baker." It's not very often you find a remnant that still exists dating all the way back to the period after the Revolutionary War and pre-Civil War era. On this Summer day in 1968 I captured this photo (c) in Nesbitt, MS in a small abandoned graveyard covered in knee-deep brush. As inscribed here, this 236 year old gravestone reads; "Our Mother - Mary Baker - Born in Germantown TN - July 24 1797 - Died in Desoto County MS - Sept 6 1852 - Bless Her Soul Reunited with the Lord."

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Legendary Photographer Robert Frank Passes

Robert Frank, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th Century, died today Sept. 9th in Nova Scotia. Frank, who was 94, mentored countless photographers, with his ground breaking book "The Americas", published in 1959, was a collection of unsparing photos of the United States, made over his cross country road trips during the 1950's. His grainy, gritty, black & white pictures changed the course of documentary photography, offering a frank assessment of racism, alienation, and class differences. Jack Kerouac, who wrote the book's introduction, famously said that the book "sucked a sad poem out of America." Frank also changed the way photographers approached the medium, laying ground work for photographers like Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and Gary Winogrand as well as leagues of others young photographers who would follow. He eventually became as much a film maker as a photographer as 'Pull My Daisy' his first film, is considered one of the most important avant-garde film of all time - but it was "The Americas" that established his place in the history of photography.