Friday, January 6, 2012

Portraits of my Father

Easter Sunday, 1960, 8 St. Mary's Road, Cromer, Norfolk, England

There was a book published last year by Lodima Press on Brett Weston's 1977 portfolio titled "Portraits of my Father". This portfolio and book contained 10 photographs of Brett's father, Edward Weston, one of the icons of 20th Century photography (as is Brett).

It has been one year since my father passed and I have started thinking again of going through all the old negatives and prints that have been handed down to me. Originally I wanted to do a portfolio/book of images that my father had "taken", especially those from England, where he was stationed in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, and where I was born.

As I started going through all of this material I found photographs "of" my father. I love "period" imagery (and films). I was trying to tell my daughter the other night that "period" used to mean anything before the early to mid 20th Century. Today it means the 1960s or 1970s. Anyway, these images I found had a certain charm to them. Drugstore negatives and prints from a 120/220 film camera. Some dimple cut. All of Kodak film and paper (Kodak is about to disappear as we know it very soon). All have creases and cracks. There's even some that my father made on 4x5" film. Once I saw these images I decided to change my idea to encompass both the images of him and those by him.

These four images are the first that I have scanned towards this project, tentatively titled "Through my Father's Eyes: Photographs of and by Richard J. Coda Jr." I still have to research many of these for accurate dates and locations.

Location and Date Unknown

Location and Date Unknown

July 31, 1960, Cromer Beach, Norfolk, England
A father for 42 days

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Weekend with Marilyn...

TruckMasters (Marilyn Monroe), Phoenix AZ, 2009 © Richard M. Coda

OK, there's a new movie out immortalizing Marilyn Monroe. Did you know that Marilyn Monroe is immortalized right here in Phoenix, AZ?

For those of you who don't get out much, there is a huge mural painted on the side of the TruckMasters building at 20th St. and Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. It was painted by Timothy Medina in 2002. The mural is more than 30 feet long and is almost super-realist in style.

I photographed it early one Sunday morning in 2009 in black & white with my 8x10" camera. I deliberately chose Sunday so there would be no vehicles parked in front of it. Although I do tire quickly of Marilyn Monroe, I never tire looking at this beautiful contact print.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: Out with the new and in with the old?

Happy New Year!

Cascade Mountain, Alberta, Canada, 1990 © Richard M. Coda

I'm thinking 2012 will be a breakthrough year for me, photographically. The past three years have been tough on everyone, and especially artists. Many of my photography friends have experienced reduced output and enthusiasm, myself included. The causes are multiple: disappearance of materials, reduced income, dissatisfaction with leadership, etc.

2012 brings with it an opportunity for hope and change (not that dopey hope and change from 2008). Business seems to have rebounded and things are going to change in my life this year. Our daughter, Lindsay, will be going away to college in August. As parents, Michele and I have devoted our lives to our daughter, sacrificing so she could "have better than we had". There are still four years of financial sacrifice ahead, but the amount of time that will be gained is amazing. In 2012 I hope to attempt to use some of that time to "get back into photography". I can't tell you how many times I have heard a photographer utter those words. For some reason photography is one of those avocations that is shuffled aside to take care of life.

Another "back to the future" hope is to do more landscapes this year. I have mentioned several times on this blog about my yearning to do landscapes again as I have gotten older. The desert landscape is too sparse for me personally, but I hope to have the time to do some landscapes with trees and water in them. In addition, I have 30 years worth of negatives, many of which have never seen the light of day, and many of them these types of landscapes that I yearn.

One project that I would like to do this year is my "Honeymoon Suite" portfolio. This is a portfolio of 8x10" images made from 4x5" negatives I made while on my honeymoon in 1990 in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. I have only printed a few of the images way back in 1991, but have enough that I am going to select 10 and print a limited edition portfolio. The image above, Cascade Mountain, is one I have selected. I printed this for the first time a few days ago. It still needs some tweaks but I am excited to work on this project.

Other projects I hope to start this year include several botanical series from items I have been collecting for the past couple of years; two portfolios on Phoenix (one black & white and one color) along with a book from my extensive work in the city from the past three years; and a small portfolio from my work on Ellis Island in 1984.

As this is my 30th year in photography I also plan on having a 30% discount on all sales this entire year, and a special selection of vintage prints from the 1980s at fire sale prices. I will also be marketing a series of "Special Edition" prints from selected negatives for $30 plus S/H. Ansel Adams made the "special edition" print popular by offering some of his most popular images available for a very reasonable price. Today these prints are made by his last assistant, Alan Ross. My special editions will be pigmented ink prints available in only one size (7" on the long side) on 8.5x11" paper, open edition, and signed electronically. These are basically mini-posters meant to introduce my work to a broader market of beginning collectors. The purchase price of these prints can be applied toward a "Collector's Edition" photographic (darkroom) print at any point if the purchaser wishes to upgrade to a real print.

So stay tuned in 2012 for all of these announcements.

I wish you all a healthy and prosperous New Year!