Wednesday, November 16, 2005

In Good Company

I'm feeling very humble. The day before we started back to Texas, I had a voice message from Linda Briscoe Myers from the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas. She said she had been trying to reach me for several months and asked me to call her which I did today.

She needed some information from me because one of my images in the collection of the Harry Ransom Center has been selected for an upcoming exhibition, The Image Wrought: Historical Photographic Approaches in the Digital Age which will examine recent activity in Alternative photography. In something of a departure from similar alternative process exhibitions, the Image Wrought will pair contemporary photographs with 19th century counterparts who share common processes or approaches. If I understood her correctly my agyrotype image, Maurice, will be paired with either a photograph made by Sir John Herschel or a photograph of him. Either way, I'm honored to be included in this exhibition.

This image is a 5x7 contact print made on a Crane's archival paper that is handcoated with a chemistry called Argyrotype. It is similar to the chemistry for Van Dyke Brown photographs but Dr. Mike Ware, a chemist and alternative photographic expert, has taken some of the old photographic formulas and made them more stable and less hazardous to work with. I used a old view camera that was found for me by my friend Frank Armstrong. It is a very simple camera with a 12" bellows.

The image is a part of a series that I did of pears. The pears seemed to take on human qualities as I arranged and photographed them on my dining room table. This particular image was named Maurice because Ann McDonald, another friend, said when she looked at it, "he is so elegant, like Maurice Chavelier bowing from the waist."

I have questions to answer for the exhibition and for Ms. Myers about this image and my work and I will probably post some more about working in alternative processes. As I wrote above, I'm very honored to be included in this exhibition with some of the founders of photography as well as some of the contemporary masters of these old processes.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You are a very talented photographer, and deserve this honor.

Eric said...

Very cool! When I saw Maurice, I thought it looked like an old classic photo. Edward Weston comes to mind. Very nice! Congratulations Billie!

Steve Bridger said...

Billie - this is kudos, indeed. Congratulations.

I looked through the "pears" set. I loved this one. Looks like the classix mexican argument brewing...

un abrazo.

Brenda said...

Congratulations. Brenda

Anonymous said...

This totally, like cool, wicked cool.

BillieS said...

Many thanks to all of you for your comments. This is shaping up as a memorable week in photography.