Sunday, September 15, 2013

Jesse Andrews and Tom Rankin Speak

Sunday afternoon, September 15, both artist Jesse Andrews, and special guest Tom Rankin visited Through This Lens to talk about Mr. Andrews' work.
Tom Rankin and Jesse Andrews (c) 2013 Roylee Duvall
The black and white photographs will be off the walls on Wednesday, so you have just one more day to see them - on Tuesday, September 17. Not only are these photographs traditional gelatin-silver prints, and shot on film, Mr. Andrews claims not to own a digital camera. When an audience member asked why he chose to use film, Mrs. Andrews said that the speed of the digital process was in his eyes, a disadvantage.
He is known as a thinker - an artist who puts much effort into each image, both in selection and the laborious method of making lush dark prints in his darkroom. During his talk he mentioned his admiration for Bill Brandt. Later, when I asked if there were other influences he mentioned Paul Strand and W. Eugene Smith. Another question that came up during the talk: Why are there black borders around each image on his prints? Mr. Andrews answered that the marks indicate a completely unmodified image from the way it was composed and captured.

Many old-school photographers will recognize the technique of filing out the negative carrier so that when a negative is enlarged the black line represents part of the film without an image - thus it becomes a symbol and guarantee of honesty by the artist. In the digital world, no such option or tell-tale mark exists. Maybe there is still a place in the world of photography for film - even in the 21st century.

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