I was out photographing a few Sundays ago and ended up at the Scottsdale Civic Plaza. There is this tree trunk in front of the brushed steel surface of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art that I wanted to photograph in black & white with the 8x10" camera. I made my exposure and then thought about how beautiful the Civic Plaza, or Mall as they call it, is. They have sculptures, fountains, grass and flower beds. In particular, pansies. I have loved pansies since I was a small child. My grandfather always grew the most beautiful pansies. Their colors are pure and strong.
So I went back to the car and switched cameras to the 4x5" and brought color film with me. I set up to try and do some close ups of the pansies. However, with the limited depth of field I was getting, and the gentle breeze that was making the flowers move, I became frustrated. Better to do these in the studio under controlled lighting. Then I took my glasses off for a minute to rub my eyes. Things were blurry as I was looking at the flower beds... but they looked beautiful. So, I went back to the camera and deliberately threw it way out of focus and started panning for compositions. I was amazed at how pure the colors are when you don't have to worry about form. I made one exposure to see how it would turn out.
It turned out rather nicely, I think, so I want to do a series in this style, printed very large on watercolor paper. I know people will say "All you did was blur it in Photoshop." Then I can show them the chrome and they can see for themselves. I really did look for the composition after I had de-focused on the ground glass. It is kind of gimmicky, which seems to be what curators, judges, and critics want these days (that's for another discussion)... who knows? And, as one day everything will look like this to me, why not get used to it now :^)
Richard Coda has been photographing since he was a teenager. In college he fell in love with images made with large format cameras. Starting with a 4x5" view camera, he soon moved up to an 8x10" camera and, most recently, has begun working with an 11x14" camera.
While he photographed landscapes early in his career, recently his work has focused on that which has been overlooked, forgotten, or looked at, but not seen. He finds compositions where others see the ordinary, or nothing at all. While concentrating on black and white for most of his career, Richard has found a new love for color, using color as the subject, while still retaining his classical aesthetic for form, line and tone.
Please visit his websites at www.rcodaphotography.com and www.pctype.com