Monday, August 26, 2013

night - buildings

Soon after my first photography classes at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1969, I began to carry a camera around with me as I wandered through the nights and early mornings, on my way home from nightshift jobs and night classes at the University of Chicago.
I had been drawn to the magical qualities of night environments long before I learned photography, but with the photographic process, it seemed I was able to study the visual effects more extensively, and later, more meditatively as I would stand in the darkrooms of the school printing the negatives that I had made of those scenes to which I was drawn.
Some of the scenes looked like stage sets to me, waiting for the players to arrive. Many seemed familiar, as if I had been there before. Many were the ghosts of places that I had passed during the day, but some seemed like visual equivalents of places in my mind that waited for the focus of my thoughts to arrive. Some seemed like the memories of places that I might have gone to before, in dreams that I had forgotten. I especially liked how shadows appeared in the scenes, overlapping the varied perspectives that the lights looked from, cubistically constructing a composite of the scenes, observed by the light, from the edge of the visible, along the border of darkness.
As a young kid, I was certain that light had an effect on time, and the speed at which it passed. I didn't know the physics of it, but I thought I could feel it, as I would watch the night snow slowly fall before me, while an incandescent scene through a kitchen window across the yard moved at a rate that seemed much quicker, a separate reality, a fragment of life and light within the infinity of darkness. Light always seemed to have a limited, time connected life, while the dark seemed to fall through space and infinity without effort.
The photographs presented at this site are part of an ongoing series of several hundred that I continue to work on, and occasionally add to. The earliest work, from 1969 to 1971, came from 35mm negatives, printed on 8"x10" Portriga Rapid paper. In 1972 I switched to 4"x5" sheet film, and printed on 11"x 14" Portriga Rapid until 1989 when I switched to a warmtone, Hungarian paper called Forte Elegance.