“Unique,” Indeed

Many years ago when I was an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, a teacher of photojournalism helped me discover my passion for photography. I mean, I knew I like taking pictures and had since I was a kid. But it had never occurred to me that I was “creative” or could do anything remotely “artistic.” She encouraged me to see otherwise.

I became a bit of a darkroom phenom. (Yes, I’m talking about the days of analog photography and wet darkrooms.) One of my classmates once told me he thought I could make a good print from a cardboard negative! Well, he was exaggerating….

Recuerdos: Oremos

However, I spent many hours in the darkroom, and when, in 1972, I packed my Pontiac LeMans for the trip to graduate school in Philly, I had a lot of quite good silver prints I had never done much with–a student show, maybe. I packed them carefully and took them along.

So now–30 years post grad school–I’m unpacking them and doing something with them! It’s so much fun. And given that wet darkrooms have pretty much gone the way of dinosaurs, these vintage silver prints are truly “unique.” To emphasize that, I prowl Antique Alley, yard sales and auctions looking for cool vintage frames to put them in.

To my delight, the A Smith Gallery in Johnston City, Texas, picked one for it’s upcoming show, “Unique,” which opens November 6 and runs until January 3. Perfect fit, no?

BTW, many of my best silver prints, like the one above, are from my mid-1970s summer as a student in Spain. That’s why the series is called “Recuerdos.” And I spent a lot of time that summer photographing the magnificent churches and cathedrals of Spain, as well as the devout who spent much time in them.

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