I haven't shown my photographic work since 1994. During my prolonged hiatus I've watched as film photography and darkroom printing have become extinct. My earliest recollections related to photography are of the times when I accompanied my dad. He'd observed and participated in the development of film photography from the early days before color film was available. He'd been a skilled black and white printer and taught photographic techniques for many years. He lost his interest in black and white photography in favor of color and never looked back. That's where I came in. We shared a love of nature and a fascination with its beauty. Photography gave us a chance to give permanence to its fragile and fleeting moments.
It wasn't until Lary and I were married and I found my life occupied with new activities that I realized how much my photography meant to me. The spontaneity that I'd relied on for my photography wasn't appropriate to my new life. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my creative work in our stained glass studio I wasn't prepared to give up my photographic fun. One day I decided to give myself a self-assignment - I was assigned (by me) to pick one place and stay there until I found a subject worthy of photographic study - The place I selected was our stained glass workshop. It was typical of many workshops, nothing glamorous, a worktable, lots tools, workman-like but not scenic in any way, with large sheets of colored glass waiting to be cut into small pieces and assembled into window designs. After scanning the room for quite a long time I saw something amazing - I found a tiny very sad face looking out at me from one of the sheets of glass, as if he were trapped there. He captured my imagination and I'd taken the first step into my new world - Vitria.
Photographing glass presents unique challenges. After long months of trial and error I found the technique that worked for me and I started my journey to find new images to capture in the glass. The landscapes and portraits that I saw in the glass became more and more real to me, part of a story taking shape in my mind. The portfolio grew to the point where I had a large body of work to display.
Through all my labors I never thought of myself as an artist. I was more like a traveller documenting an adventure. It was not until I was offered my first show at the Stained Glass Expo in Reno, Nevada that I considered the merit of the work. My next challenge was to print it. There were so many decisions to make - What size prints would be effective?, What paper would be best to give the images the crisp, saturated color they needed? Would my home darkroom equipment be adaptable to printing at the 20"x24" print size that I felt was optimal? Each of these became a challenge but the greatest challenge came when I realized that I needed to match the images in the negatives to the image in my imagination. It became a bit like painting with light under the enlarger.
My next show was at the Chappaqua Library. I was asked to submit an 8"x10" black and white press shot. When I opened the New York Times for the weekend of my show I was thrilled to see my image on the cover of the Westchester section announcing the area art shows for that weekend. In a later exhibition at a SOHO gallery this image was reviewed as "Georgia O'Keefe-ish" - I was very flattered. Between 1991 and 1994 I continued to exhibit, finishing with a solo museum exhibition in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in 1994.
Unfortunately, photographic negatives are fragile. All the work that I'd produced during that time has suffered from the effects of storage. My focus after my final show in 1994 had shifted and my photographic work was limited to snapshooting. Recently I realized that my glass portfolio still has relevance. I'd retained much of the glass that I'd photographed when I was shooting in film and I've recaptured it with my new digital equipment.
These digital photos have recently been used as the background for performances by Daisy Jopling at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater in Peekskill, NY.
Digital technology presents different challenges in the picture-taking and in preparing the images for viewing. When I printed in the darkroom, my manipulation was done with my hands under the enlarger. Now I've been able to replace that with work in Photoshop. Initially my challenge was to make the recaptured images faithful to the originals. I have since become more adventuresome, going in some new directions. I included many of my original pieces and a couple of new pieces in my first exhibition since 1994, hanging at Club Fit Briarcliff in Briarcliff Manor, NY for the month of July, 2014.
Printing digital images requires attention to different criteria. For the first printing of my digital work I've chosen to make archival giclèe prints on canvas. Refining the printing of my photos is still a work in progress but so far I'm happy with the results. I look forward to continuing to schedule exhibitions of my work and plan to include my new nature photography in future shows.