“Mont St. Michel”, 1977
Andrew Gelman’s post, So much artistic talent, got me thinking about what work I like and why. I’m drawn to black and white photography and was serious about it myself for about four years. (I haven’t been in the darkroom since my daugher was born – just difficult to carve out the time to photograph and print with family commitments.) This post and the next few list some photographers whose work I admire.
Mt. Huntington’s Incredible North Face. Alaska, April 2, 1978.
Washburn lived in Lexington. He was in his nineties when he passed away a few years ago. Panopticon Gallery in Boston carries his work. I prefer work which draws you in rather than tries to inspire awe. In terms of b&w photography, the result is that I tend to gravitate towards smaller prints rather than large ones. Washburn’s work is the exception that proves the rule. Circa 2005, back when they were in Waltham, Panopticon had a show of his prints where the typical size was on the order of 4 ft x 5 ft. Big as they were they were very intimate photographs. IIRC, Panopticon had scanned the negatives, cleaned them up digitally, and then printed them on an inkjet printer which used six tones of carbon-based ink. The prints were phenomenal.
(As an aside, I get a kick out of the fact that Washburn shot many of his negatives while hanging out the side of a single-engine airplane from N thousand feet up. There’s a great picture of him at the front of Mountain Photography sitting in the door of a Fairchild 71 in Valdez, AK with a big smile on his face holding his large format camera. He clearly loves what he’s doing.)