As a graduate student in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, I had the opportunity to study with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind plus the opportunity to photograph a unique American city, Providence, Rhode Island. Both of these shaped the work that I produced during that time and continue to shape the work I produce today.
Aaron Siskind, through his constant probing, musing and questioning ("Every one of Aaron's questions is a test," one of my fellow students once said), encouraged a focused intelligence about one's work. In contrast, Harry Callahan taught by modeling an incredibly rigorous work ethic with minimal verbal communication. Coming from a blue-collar background, I related to Harry on a very personal level. My favorite Harry Callahan quote is, "You think just because we call ourselves artists we don't have to work for a living?"
Providence, Rhode Island was fascinating to me for three primary reasons. One, it was an older city than I was used to. The architecture, both historically significant and not, was visually very interesting to my midwestern eyes. Two, the city did not allow overnight street parking and, three, nearly all stores were closed on Sundays. The combined effect of these last two meant that, on a Sunday morning, the city was like an abandoned set on a movie studio back lot. While this was probably not good for businesses, it was great for photography.
The first year of this project I worked in black and white and the second in color. All negatives were made with a 4 x 5 view camera.
« Hide this text »