TERRY FENTON

24 misc. photos:

FIVE CITIES


James Bay, Victoria, Jan. 2006

 

ALL OF THESE pictures were taken with a digital camera over the past several years. Originally I used the camera as a sketching tool, a "digital sketchbook" to be used for my oil paintings. However, I've since used it increasingly to record places that I wouldn't (and couldn't) paint. Some images don't seem appropriate for painting. Put another way, photographs can do some things better. In my case, that has to do with recording human references, mostly in city subjects.

To my eyes, the most productive tradition in photography is the documentary tradition. My main influences come from there: Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, and Orest Semchishen. The first two are famous, the last -- a Canadian from Edmonton -- should be. Perhaps the world isn't ready for Western Canada... (although the American, Stephen Shore, photographed there -- and in color.)

I usually shoot in color, in part because the digital camera seems to handle it well. I do convert some images to black and white, but haven't included any. Color creates problems in photographs and I'm by no means certain that I've surmounted them. For one thing it enhances distinctions and, with photography's lack of a literal surface, this can lead to incoherence. This is complicated by the fact that atmospheric color in photographs tends to become confused with local color: skies look too blue, foliage too green. They detach; they jump.

The Galveston photos were put up recently. They were taken with a small Sony camera, mostly from a moving car. Many are blurred. I like them that way. I suspect that many woouldn't print out well, but I generally find that colour in photography looks best on a screen. I've cropped them all, sometimes savagely. My thanks to Ed Rashti for being my host and driver in Texas.

Comments are welcome:

 

Your documentary photographs of Saskatoon are quite wonderful... They evoke within me all of the daily impressions I lived with and felt while residing in Saskatoon. In some ways, Saskatoon to me is almost the exemplar of the mid size prairie city and you certainly have captured this in your photographs.... So many of the houses when I lived there had such beautiful, unusual decor. And the colour and perspective of your photographs jumpstarts all of that colour and unusual quirks up into my mind again. So I can say quite simply, the colour, the perspective and your response to all of these factors and your camera's response to all these factors contribute to truly beautiful and authentic photographs of Saskatoon.

-- Donna O'Sullivan

 

links: http://www.masters-of-photography.com/