Friday, July 23, 2010

Photographs: Revisited

Every once in a while I like to, as George Tice would say, crack open a bottle of wine and look at [my] photographs. Revisiting photographs is a great way to see things you didn't see previously, to think about new or different ways to make the print, or just plain reminisce.

Many of the great master photographers revisited their hunting grounds on a regular basis. Edward Weston moved to be within walking distance of Pt. Lobos so he could have un-fettered access to it. Ansel Adams spent a great deal of his life in and around Yosemite NP. George Tice has produced two monographs of work on Paterson. The list goes on...

I started thinking about revisiting my photographs this past week due to two things. First, one of my sisters got a new job just a few blocks from some of my early photographs in Paterson, NJ. So, I decided to look up some of the locations I used to photograph on Google Maps. I was expecting for these places to be gone... bulldozed, burned, replaced by vanilla structures. Much to my surprise (and delight) they are still there!

Foundation, Paterson, NJ, 1983 by Richard M. Coda

138 Getty Avenue, Paterson, NJ, 2010, via Google Maps

Garage Doors, Paterson, NJ, 1983 by Richard M. Coda

62 Grove Street, Paterson, NJ, 2010, via Google Maps

Garage Doors, Paterson, NJ 1983 (uncropped) by Richard M. Coda

Second, I was driving up 32nd St. in Phoenix yesterday and noticed one of my photographs has once again "disappeared" (this is the second time for this particular image). It was previously overpainted an ugly black, brown and green striped pattern. Now it is solid red and yellow. I will be sure to go back and make another image soon.

2320, Phoenix, AZ 2008 by Richard M. Coda

I am sometimes torn between photographing new locations and going back to old locations. While "change" is inevitable, I am torn between letting things be and rejuvination. Letting them be can become urban blight, which can be great for a photographer, but not so nice for the people who live nearby. Updating things can make them "plain vanilla" and visually uninteresting. Sometimes I get lucky and get both!

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