Thursday, June 24, 2010
Harpswell Town Meeting 1966
John Cole gave me my first professional assignments as a photojournalist. My greater aspirations were already starting aim at the high art of Edward Weston, Paul Caponigro and Minor White, but I was also hungry for paying work. $25 per published photo did not always add up to much, but it paid for film and gas. OK, I also liked seeing John's expansive photo layouts with my credit line. Me, just a student.
This was before I learned that publications commonly hire fresh talent. Low rates and an eager eye.
Though I consciously pursued Art on the rocks and deserted sands, I made it unpretentiously for the local newspaper. Looking back on these images, which for me do stand the test of time and retain their interest, I can see how much an artist's priorities can be lost in a hall of mirrors. During my years at Ohio, when 200 photo majors were divided between the "social landscape" school and the "R & T" (Rocks and Trees), a.k.a. "WW & PP" (Water, Weeds and Peeling Paint) school. I was vociferously in the latter, though I had already done quite a lot of the social scene.
Journalism was a job to me, not a calling. The greatest moment was my year on staff at Maine Times during the height of the Ecology and Back to the Land movements, documenting the ferment as Maine took in 10,000 new citizens during the 70s.
The Maine Times negatives will be a separate project, perhaps another blog, possibly a book or documentary film.