Photography, Acrylic, Casein, Digital & Egg Tempera


Photography is one of the most realistic of media. It is  also  one of the most difficult and demanding medium.  It's easy if you just want to record a scene, especially with modern point and shoot digital cameras.  But as an art medium used by itself, it is quite unforgiving. 

Unless you mess with it a little. I used to be a photographic "purist". I didn't  mess with it.  If it wasn't done by plain unadulterated photographic method, it was cheating.  I got that attitude by apprenticing  under some of the very best Masters of Photography, i.e., those awarded that degree by the Professional Photographers of America.  They were so pure that if you changed the color of a print with the wrong toner (Nelson's Gold Toner was the generally approved one) it might be rejected for that reason alone. I ran into that with a high key portrait of a beautiful little blonde girl when I toned it in a sort of Florentine terra cotta red and mounted it on top of a soft blue Canson Pastel Paper to give it a thin blue border. It was rejected.
I learned photography way back when if you wanted genuine image quality, you developed and printed in your own lab because that was the only way to get what you were after.  My heroes were photographers like Edward Weston, Steiglitz, Steichen, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Werner Bischof,  Emil Shulthess,  and William Mortenson who did "mess" with photography but was so good with it that he not only got away with it, he created a trend of his own.

I never met some of those whose work inspired me most.  They were magazine photographers,  and you may never have heard of them, but they were truly great. Werner Bishof and Emil Shulthess were European.  I tried to chase them down once when I was in Europe, but Werner had driven off a cliff in the Andes and Emil had died by then.
Strangely on that European trip, I ran into his widow, Amalia Shulthess, in the Bahnhoff in Zürich. It was a head-on collision. I helped her off the floor, helped pick up her stuff, invited her to a cup of coffee while we waited for our trains and we got acquainted. She invited me to visit in Florence where she had her art studio. I did. She had an apartment on Amerigo Vespucci, right on the picturesque river that ran through Florence. She was an artist, different from me, a sculptress. We went to a restaurant in the Tuscany hills nearby, where I discovered that we really do have authentic Italian restaurants in the United States. I had a great time. She was kind of odd.

Sort of like me.

Doug  Fairchild , 2012



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