This collection of photographs depicts various buildings throughout Amarillo, primarily in the downtown area. The images are not of uncommon sights; rather, the architectural subjects might be considered ordinary. But in these 10 photographs, I have captured the structures in unique ways. I have found unexpected points of view, applied creative compositional skills, and occasionally used digital filter effects to give the images distinctive characteristics.
Brad, 27, is a photographer who lives in Amarillo with his wife, Sarah, and new daughter, Lydia, born in October. He works full time as a writer at the Amarillo Globe-News.
Brad regularly posts photographs of scenes he finds interesting on his photoblog, www.thelensphotoblog.com. To contact Brad, call 806-290-1979.
April 4 – April 30, 2011
Amy Holmes George
Double Vision: A View of Florence Past and Present
Double Vision: A View of Florence Past & Present is a Florentine rephotographic project based exclusively on the private collections of the world’s oldest photo archive, the Fratelli Alinari in Florence, Italy. My interest in the country of Italy, the Fratelli Alinari (“Alinari brothers”) and the rich history of both spans over ten years, serving as the catalyst for this project. I gathered over one hundred images produced by the brothers during the late 1800’s, now housed in the Alinari archive, that documented significant sites within the city of Florence. Retracing the steps of the Alinari photographers, I visited these locations, rephotographed them from the same point of view using today’s digital technology and then printed the images in platinum/palladium, a variation of an historical photographic process employed during the time of the Alinari. With the medium of photography transitioning so rapidly to digital, I find myself compelled to return to antique printing processes. Rather than replacing traditional and alternative photographic techniques with digital image-making methods, this project uniquely integrates both approaches.
A city familiar to many, Florence has been a major tourist and cultural destination from the legacy of the Grand Tour in the late Renaissance through present day. By pairing the original Alinari print from over a century ago with my current rephotographed version, the project offers a powerful statement of those things that change and also remain the same; a valuable visual contrast and comparison of the Florentine social life, architecture and cityscape as it once was and is now today. The apparent lack of change proved most impressive; a true testament to the Italian peoples’ commitment to preserving the integrity of their culture. This project captures the passage of time, embracing both the evolution and permanence of the Italian landscape, its people and community, and also illustrates the influx of tourism and industrialization. While my visual research and documentation are based in Florence, I believe that the project concepts are internationally applicable. Documentary projects of this kind have the capacity to speak to a large geographical and social-political audience, impacting the way in which people engage with each other as well as nature and the landscape. Through this rephotographic project, I hope to build more awareness of the environment by acknowledging our footprint” and the power we possess to protect and preserve our cultural and historical community.
Double Vision: A View of Florence Past & Present presents the viewer with a photographic tour of Florence that speaks to the relevance of now versus then. This rephotographic project does not intend to imitate the work of the Alinari by recreating the composition and/or lighting of the original photographs. It documents the existing space, not the image, to represent visually the evidence of both constancy and transition after a hundred plus years, addressing issues of land use and the impact of man’s hand on the landscape. I collected over one hundred photographs to convey this passage of time; however, I encountered difficult or impossible circumstances at several sites. In some cases, I was never able to access the suspected point of view or even determine the exact location. Yet, this project took me to the top of every major church tower in Florence (all of which are closed to the general public), into many restricted construction and restoration sites, and even the very private apartments of the Archbishop’s Palace.
The Fratelli Alinari opened their doors for business as a photography agency in 1852—just thirteen years prior to the declaration of Florence as the capital of the newly unified Italy (and only thirteen years following the official birth of photography). For five years, Florence served as the political headquarters; however, when the capital moved to Rome, Florence fell quickly into debt. The city leaders decided that if Florence could no longer be the political capital, then it would strive to be the country’s capital of photography. Over time the Alinari brothers became the leading photographers in the region, as they sought to photograph Italy’s aristocratic families, famous landmarks and historical sites. Today, the Alinari exists as an archive that catalogues the work of the brothers, and it is as large as it is resourceful. The sole proprietor of historic photographs for Italy, the Alinari archive houses well over 3,000,000 photographic works. This extraordinary collection provides an unparalleled visual record of the Italian landscape, architecture, social life, art and culture.
Technical note: This project was documented with an Olympus E-500 SLR digital camera (with a variety of lenses) mounted on a tripod for optimal precision. The photographic files were captured in RAW format, sized and fine-tuned in Adobe Photoshop applying techniques of Mark Nelson’s Precision Digital Negatives system, produced as large format digital negatives on an Epson Stylus Pro 3800 printer and contact printed on Bergger COT 320 paper in platinum/palladium. The Alinari photographs are modern gelatin silver fiber base contact prints from the original glass-plate negatives. These prints were purchased directly from the Fototeca at Archivi Alinari in Florence, Italy. The titles and estimated dates for the original images were provided by the Alinari staff.
This project was made possible with the support of a 2007-08 U.S.-Italy Fulbright grant; Fondazione Studio Marangoni, the Center of Contemporary Photography in Florence who served as my host institution; and the Fratelli Alinari photo archive where I conducted my visual research during my four-month stay in Italy.
January 19, 2011 – February 20, 2011
Artifacts from the Built Environment
While I have been exploring the built environment in Texas and Mexico for the past five years, I can draw a line from my undergraduate years to the subjects I am looking at today. Perhaps this interest came from walking the streets of downtown Youngstown, Ohio when I was 13 or 14 years old, or hitchhiking through Cincinnati and Detroit while an undergraduate at Ohio University and was probably fortified during the time I maintained a studio in downtown Dallas in an old office building across from Neiman-Marcus, but I have always been attracted to the spaces that society has built to live and work in, and to travel through.
I have a particular interest in the space and resources we have set aside for the automobile, and the public spaces that begin where formal architecture ends, as well as the canopy of wires and cell phone towers we have built above our heads. In the middle ages the introduction of a new harness for horses and oxen changed the way cities were designed, and in the 20th century the automobile, utility delivery and electronic communication have defined the modern built environment.
My interests include how the structures that society has built have changed, been adapted, reused or discarded. I collect things such as parking lot kiosks, intersections, athletic fields and repurposed gas stations. At times, it is a bit like doing archaeology in the present. I have tried to photograph the natural landscape, but I always find myself searching for some sign of the human hand on the land, even if it is a barbed wire fence.
In recent months, I have been concentrating on the flat spaces of North Texas, and the horizontal nature of the American landscape. I have also been looking at the relationship between open space, economic abandonment and new development, including infrastructure.
Peter A, Calvin is a photographer and educator, holding a BFA from Ohio University and an MFA from Texas A&M-Commerce. Born in Youngstown, Ohio where he first studied photography at the Butler Institute of American Art, he now lives with his family in Dallas, Texas. He has lived and worked in Mexico, built furniture, written for magazines and newspapers and played in a jazz trio. He teaches photography as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University – Commerce, Collin County Community College and Tarrant County College. His current personal work is an exploration of the built environment.