I had lunch the other day with Vittorio Mezzano, an Italian friend, photographer and president of the board of trustees of the Photographic Resource Center (PRC) in Boston.
The lunch was with some board members and involved recruitment for the PRC board but as we were leaving he handed me his card and asked me to take a look at his new website, which contains some of his pictures. I took a look. Impressive. One portfolio called "Deceptive Desolation" includes pictures made in the Southwest. Right away it made me think of some pictures I made in 2010 in Utah.
His pictures are excellent, embodying all that there is in pictures made by someone who thinks and looks hard about what will be in the frame and what the outcome of the picture will be. You can see them here: Vittorio Mezzano.
My pictures from the area known as "Dead Horse" were made towards the end of a month in Moab, Utah in the year I had a sabbatical leave from teaching in 2009/2010. I never pulled them into a group or a series but include them here as a comparison to Vittorio's which, in truth, I like better. I have this track record of photographing a concept or an idea but then letting it go as I've shot another series that I feel I have to get to first. Maybe in my "sunset" years, when I can't get out of the chair that sits in front of the computer, I will realize some of these. Or maybe not.
Over the past weekend at the Flash Forward Photography Festival held in Boston, my friend Henry Horenstein gave a talk that I went to. At the Q and A, when asked what he was working on now he ended up saying that he was making a film and that probably the last thing needed was more of his still photographs. While any work of Henry's is deserving of exposure, I take his point. Perhaps the last thing this world needs is another series of pictures by the photographer Neal Rantoul. On the other hand, that doesn't seem to have stopped me yet.
Here are some of my pictures from Utah, made in 2010:
(Remember you can click on these pictures to make them larger on your monitor.)
What do you do photographically when confronted with a spectacular landscape? I know many photographers who just shut down. Who can blame them? Isn't it enough to just enjoy a place without feeling compelled to make pictures of it?
I have always been intrigued with major tourist attractions. Places with the big "view" from which to make pictures. One of my early series from the late 70's was called "Mountain Work". I made photographs at the top of drive-up mountains such as Mt Tamalpais in northern California or Mt Tom in Maine or Mt Washington in New Hampshire. I would photograph people (yes, it's true) in the parking lots, or as they pointed toward some distant place while standing at a railing. I love the change in scale from close up to as far as the eye can see. The ones here do that too, put the foreground in focus up against the background literally scores of miles away, exactly opposite to what most people do when in the very same places.
Thanks to Vittorio for his pictures and for setting me down a path of remembering recent and deeper past pictures. "Mountain Work" is not scanned but is now on my to do list. I will post them when they are done.