In my last blog post I asked readers to hit me with questions. I got one back so far:
Tell me about your photos, or the majority of them, which don't include people. I remember a shot across a parking lot at the back of a box store. There was a shadow, (yours) of a person. I thought it (the entire photo) really spoke to a sense of loneliness in the age of commercial meaningless glut. That people had been reduced , by commercialism, to a shadow. You took it out. What was left was a beautiful , architectural space. Your thoughts?
The reader caught me in a discrepancy.... a frame where originally the photograph showed my shadow as I made the picture, then later, changed as I put in the same image with my shadow removed.
I think it was probably this photograph the reader referred to.
I'd like to give more weight to this than than it deserves but it just isn't so. It is well known among photographers that if you shoot early or late on a sunny day with a wide lens with the sun at your back, you've got your own shadow to contend with. Many of us will go to great lengths to disguise it or eliminate it. Before digital I would sometimes make the picture with my shadow in the frame because I thought the picture was important enough to what I was doing. I would also allow the shadow to stay in if I felt the reflection back on me or the photographer was essential to the picture. But in truth, had I had the ability to remove it the way I do now, most of the time I would have wanted my shadow eliminated. Now, of course, it is easy.
There is certainly a bigger issue the reader points to and that is why doesn't Neal Rantoul photograph people? Actually, I do, just rarely. Many of the Car Show pictures have people in them, I photograph many dead people (Mutter Museum and Reggio Emilia series) and dead animals too (Cabela's). But portraits? Only once. In 1987, in response to the growing AIDS crisis, I photographed PWA's (People with AIDS) in a project collaborating with the Polaroid Corporation to increase awareness of the issues and to give a face to the disease. Polaroid purchased many of the 8 x 10 Polaroid prints for their collection in the 90's.
This is good, my experiment to see if you would ask questions has netted a great question. And just this morning I received another, which I will get an answer when I return home and can find the the photographs the reader asked to see.
Keep them coming....