Depth of Field

Last week I returned from a five day trip to Arizona for the opening of the Rfotofolio show Depth of Field. This was held at the beautiful non-profit photo-center Art Intersection, in Gilbert, AZ.

 

The show and the associated events were so well organised by Connie and Jerry of Rfotofolio and Alan Fitzgerald and his team at Art Intersection.

 

On the Friday evening there was a roundtable discussion between many of the photographers in the show, gallery directors and curators, around the theme of professional sustainability, moderated by Becky Senf of the Center for Creative Photography. Saturday evening was the opening which was great fun, but tiring. Lots of wonderful questions were asked of everyone’s work, and we got to meet old friends and new.

 

©Rfotofolio AI Show 2015

Photo by Rfotofolio.

 

DoF Opening 01

Photo by Rfotofolio.

 

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Jennifer Schlesinger and myself — Photo by Rfotofolio.

 

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Impending Storm, Saguaro National Park.

 

Saguaro National Park

On Sunday I drove down to Saguaro National Park, near Tucson. After hiking halfway up a mountain trail in the heat, I decided that the thunderstorm I could see developing in the far distance was indeed getting closer. The lightning was the turning point for me. Within minutes of getting back to the car and driving I got caught up in a small dust storm but then the torrential rain started. After making it back slowly to Gilbert via flooded roads and slow moving freeways, I was ready to meet up with the others for a drink and dinner. We made it into the restaurant just as the rain and wind started again. Monsoon season in Arizona.

 

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Dust storm, near Saguaro National Park.

 

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Dust storm, near Saguaro National Park.

 

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Rain storm, Saguaro National Park.

 

Center for Creative Photography

On the Monday a small group of us drove down to the Center for Creative Photography, in Tucson. We met with an assistant curator, Andrew Kensett, and Jennifer Jae Gutierrez, a conservator at the center, to look at about 40 prints – iconic images of photography – that had been pulled from the archives.

 

In no preferential order there were prints by Edward Weston, Brett Weston, Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ruth Bernard, André Kertész, Margrethe Mather and Sonya Noskowiak.

 

Seeing these prints, unglazed and in some cases with the mat lifted to reveal the entire print and its support, and under nice soft lighting, was amazing. Two prints stood out for me that I hadn’t expected to. One by Edward Weston, Contraband Bayou, Louisiana, 1941 and the other by Brett Weston, Cities Service Refinery, 1956Both these prints I had seen before, but only in books. The print by Edward Weston has so much depth and detail that is lost in books and the refinery image by Brett is so luminous and metallic. Spectacular. And the intimate Harry Callahan prints, Eleanor, Chicago, 1949 and Cattails Against Sky, 1948 renewed my love for his work.

 

The one print that did disappoint (can I even say that about one of the masters?) was Aaron Siskind’s Jerome, Arizona 21, 1949. At just over 18″ x 13″, it was the largest print there and much softer, greyer and flatter than I would have imagined it to be. Exactly the reverse experience of the Weston’s.

 

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The Center for Creative Photography print room. Yes, I did ask permission to take photographs!

 

So for making it a fun time thanks must go to Connie and Jerry Rosenthal of Rfotofolio, Alan Fitzgerald and the team at Art Intersection, Dana and Josh Rosenthal, Norm Snyder, Willie Osterman, Joanne Teasdale, Jennifer SchlesingerDavid Emett Adams, Claire A. Warden and the many, many more that were there for the opening and made the trip out to the gallery.