April 18, 2018 – The NEWS is that I am back in the dark room.
All the photos that appear on my site were taken and printed before October 2014. That is when I had to take down the dark room and ship it, because I was moving out of Abu Dhabi. But where I went there was no place to set up a dark room. To boot, the equipment had suffered badly during transfer and storage, and important elements were lost. Mysteriously lost, but lost all the same.
I used this time to work on my second book. Now that the book is finished (not yet published), I had to get back into the dark room. I was missing it too much.
During those four years I had used my camera less and less, I did not want to end up with a mountain of negatives that I would never be able to print.
I was very lucky to find someone here in Alabama who helped me nurse my enlarger back to health. At Cameragraphics, great store, great people! They have an understanding that passeth the merely technological digital stuff. Then I was able to set up a temporary dark room and I started going through my back log of negatives.
Making prints in a dark room is a craft. That is what I like so much about it. In those four years my hands and my body had not forgotten the skills. They remembered. I am not saying that I am good at this craft, but a craft it is.
So there I was, making prints.
Why do I print these pictures?
At one of their meetings Minor White wrote in his journal that he expressed his doubt that he was ready to become a serious photographer. He wrote that Stieglitz asked him “Have you ever been in love?” White answered “yes,” and Stieglitz replied “Then you can photograph.”
This is close to how I feel it. At least the word love is in there. I take almost all my photos while travelling. I take them to record, to fix, to preserve moments and situations that express how I think the world is. How it is experienced beyond some meaningless surface reality. I do this in a purely intuitive manner, you can’t do it consciously or rationally. So most of my negatives don’t work. But every now and then a picture takes on a life of its own: when I come out of the dark room and look at it in the full sunlight, it tells me something that I did not know was there when I was printing it.
Some of my photographs are like that.
Is it true for the ones that follow here? I don’t know. The photos under here are all from the negatives that I had lying around for four years. They are a selection, they are the ones from the whole pile that I chose to do first. Individually and as a group they express something. They reflect where part of me was at that time, where I am now, what I had, what I did not have.
But at least I am printing again! I am producing pieces of paper with black and white smears on them. Light falls on… on… eh, on a mountain, on a wooden floor, on a fish, on my friends, on buddhas, on Lake Toba – and most of the pictures have people in them.
My world –