Archive for June, 2008

Weston’s Shells

Our merry band of intrepid photographers from the Lawrence Photo Alliance traveled to Kansas City today for a tour of the photography exhibit at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. One of the highlights of the tour for me was to see, first-hand, Edward Weston’s legendary still life “Shells“.

My remark to anyone in the vicinity was “Time to make the obligatory study of an authentic Weston”. After all, Weston is the primal Fine Art photographer, the gold standard to which all others are compared. This print, “Shells” is one of the legendary still lifes from the 1920s.

So what makes it so great? Well, for one thing, its perfect. Perfect in composition, Weston’s trademark. Its simple, which it should be. The tones and lighting are Weston’s choice for his interpretation of the form. These could be varied, but what we see is what Weston decided on. It works. I’m glad I had the opportunity to study it.

My own attempts at still life photographer have been meager, but I try. I’ve found it to be the most challenging form of subject that I’ve tried. Maybe Weston did to. Perhaps his most famous work, “Pepper #30” was reported to be his thirtieth attempt at the photograph. In this example shown below, I did ten takes before I got what I liked. And its still no Weston. (Still Life #10 taken with Polaroid Type 55 film, natural lighting).

Many Thanks to Dan Coburn for organizing and arranging the outing.

Still Life #10″ by Alex Hawley

Advertisements

A Slice of Western Kansas

A Slice of Western Kansas

My trip to Ft. Collins, Colorado was a double success for it allowed me some photo opportunities in Western Kansas. I got to spend a few hours at the Monument Rocks/Chalk Cliffs in Gove County. I liken that area to a miniature Bryce Canyon. Took some 7×17 shots and I hope I did the place some justice.

From Gove County, I headed South and got on Good Ol’ Highway 50 which took me to this setting just a couple miles West of Kinsley. As a small child, we passed by this elevator frequently on our way to Dodge City. Luckily, it has been preserved by placing it on the Historic Register. Other wise, it would have been torn down long ago. These small Gano Grain Company elevators were once an iconic symbol of the region. Photographer and author Wright Morris made a quite iconic photo of one in the 1940s. I have another shot, done with the 8×10 and from a different perspective, waiting development.

This particular photo was made on Polaroid Type 52 sheet film, another superb product that has been recently discontinued. Such a shame. I feel lucky to be able to show what Polaroid film was capable of. So much more than just the quick snapshot. Ansel Adams knew this well too.