Tuesday, September 09, 2014


New Haven, Connecticut, 9/9/14

After a doctor's appointment in New Haven this morning, I was able to run over to the Yale/British art museum to catch the Bruce Davidson, Paul Caponigro exhibit. British? Well, not crazy at all. Both photographers did large bodies of early work that proved pivotal to their careers, in Britain, back in the late 50s and into the 60s.

The Caponigro photographs are exquisitely seen and beautifully printed, but I've never really responded to this work and it was never an influence on me.

But the Davidson prints! I knew almost all of the pictures intimately, from reproductions, but have seen almost none of them before as silver prints. As an aside, neither the literature nor the staff could fill me on when the prints were made—vintage or contemporary? The donors are all credited handsomely, but the curatorial detail of when these prints were made, right after shooting, or after forty years of contemplation, seems worth asking and telling.

These pictures, along with contemporary work by Ken Heyman, were directly instrumental in my deciding, fifty years ago, to pursue photography as my life's work. Can't get much more influential than that. A detail about presentation—no gigantism here. The Davidson prints appeared to be 8x12" picture area, conventionally matted, in a 16x20 narrow black frame. This makes me think they may be vintage, but I'd love to hear that he still prints them this way.

The show closes Sunday, so if you have any interest in either of these important American photographers and can make it to New Haven by then, your trip will be well rewarded. I'm going to see if I can dash down for a longer look between now and then.

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