A Small Exhibition

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I will be showing five large prints ( 44” x 48”) of my work at Ninth Street Espresso (341 E 10th Street, between Avenue A and Avenue B), in New York City, from August 23rd to Sept 27th.

I hope you can come. Here is my statement for the show.

Habeas Corpus:
(May you Have the Body)

These photographs, dating from 1978-1980 were not intended to be memories, but inevitably, given the passage of time, they are. They are also artifacts, and I thought it might be interesting to present them that way. There are several histories involved. The places, the mechanisms, the images I made, and my relationship to all of them. They all have relevance or are equally irrelevant, I suppose.

The physical films I used to take the pictures are in my possession and I can refer to them. Emulsion number 5037  (partly visible on the edge of the film) was used to take at least two of the photographs. It was labelled Eastman Kodak Ektachrome Type B, 50 ASA. and intended for architectural or copying work. I used it a lot  because of its color palette and sharpness.  It was an ideal film for a considered photograph.  I have not been able to find any record of Ektachrome Type B 50 ASA ever existing, (although I haven’t tried that hard.)    it morphed into a film called EPY 64T  with the emulsion number changed to 5018, and disappeared completely in 2009. Trash n Vaudeville/Valencia Hotel  (1980) has the number 5018, and I am almost certain that it was the same film I used to take Polka Dots and Defunkt, so the number switch probably occurred at the time and I didn’t notice.  Kodak shuffled their films around a lot in this period,  (1980 was their hundredth anniversary.) 

45th Street  (August, 1978) is the oldest film shown here. One can see that the edge coding style that Kodak was using is different from the later transparencies. In a 1993 data sheet I found online the emulsion number 5076 belongs to Ektachrome Daylight 200 ASA. I am sure that was not the film I had in my camera when I took this photograph...
At any rate, I cannot produce an accurate history of the films I used. I find that mildly disturbing.  

The cross-like scratches in the Polka Dots transparency are registration marks put there with an exacto knife, because in the 1980s sometime I had mechanical color separations made so I could print a postcard.   I have no idea why "1p" was scratched into the film.  I don't recognize the handwriting either. The bubbles in the sprocket holes are remnants of the film scanning process.

One of the places I cannot find anymore.  Just a few nights ago I spent several hours looking for where the Polka Dotsstorefront was, with no luck.  45th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues is still there: it has a different texture now.  Trash n Vaudeville on St. Marks Place has hardly changed, although the Valencia Hotel certainly has.  Defunkt  was taken at 122 Second Avenue where the ruin of the Filmore East was – a favorite spot to post bills. It is completely gone. The view of the Empire State Building from the 33rd Street subway entrance for the most part is unchanged. There is a new bannister.  
(The reason that I have presented only the image area of the film  with this one is, frankly, because I am very attached to this picture.  It is a favored child.)

As for the images, they are the same now as they were then. I was excited to be in a new place with such exciting surroundings.  I was obsessed with finding  compositions and translating light.  I got back a piece of film, held it to the light and saw right away how I had done -  if the film had recorded what I thought I was seeing.  I always intended to make very large prints of these photographs, which was why I used such fine grain films, but the processes for making large color prints in the 1980’s were very expensive and/or not wonderful in my opinion. I was frustrated by that.  I am glad for the opportunity to translate the film and the images this way.

There will be an edition of each photograph, unique to this exhibit, printed on fibre paper and numbered  according to how many are produced. ( maximum of 25 prints of each. )

$750.00 unframed.