Welcome to www.ChuckDavisPhoto.com.
In the cross-section of 21st century American Photography, lies a history of popular image making from the previous two centuries. Many households include a box of 35mm slides, drugstore processed keepsakes, and family albums - often subjected to harsh conditions. "Found in Grandma's Attic," might best describe these images.
I have spent much of my adult life trying to understand the impact of photography from the 19th and 20th century, as well as its relevance today - in an era where cellphones take more photographs in an hour than all the images of the previous two centuries combined.
Ektachrome 1955, scan 2007, digital processing 2015.
Photo by Charles Sr.
www.ChuckDavisPhoto.com is also about the history of photographic methods, interpreted by my 50 years behind a camera's viewfinder.
For me, it all begins with my father, Charles Sr., an engineer and amateur photographer who enjoyed the technical aspects of picture taking - ASA, F-stop, Shutter Speed, Depth-of-Field and Exposure Guide.
He gave me my first camera, a 1950's Kodak Duaflex II, and later two Leicas.
Without him I wouldn't be a photographer.
By 1974 I was photographing seriously with my first Leica M4 and 50mm Summicron.
Artist Stephen Namara befriended me at the University of Missouri - Columbia, he on a track scholarship from Kenya. I was studying photojournalism while working for the "Maneater" - UNM's campus newpaper. I also worked briefly at a small production film studio.
Leading up to 1974, my photographic odyssey included stints in two commercial film labs (Werte Color - Bonn, Germany and Neblette Color Labs - Dallas) and formative years as a photographer on the staff of the "Shorthorn" - a daily newspaper for the University of Texas - Arlington.
After nearly a decade as a journalist I returned to academics - studying the History of Photography under Beaumont Newhall.
In Albuquerque from 1980-84, at the University of New Mexico, I also worked as a bio-medical photographer and as a movie projectionist.
"Dartmouth Avenue" is an example of two dimensional designs I became fond of along Route 66. Classically used are textural elements visualized at street level - the subject is not the adobe home, its vigas, the tree, sky or the rock wall - but instead the structure of the composition itself.
I would repeat this compositional style over the next thirty years.
With a BAFA in the History of Photography, I'm intrigued with the photographic process beginning in 1839 - the so-called birth of the photograph.
While many contemporary photographers pursue alternative and historical methods of picture taking, analogue tools are also available in digital formats. Reversing time in a modern image, creating 19th century outcomes with 21st century processes, may help us rethink photography from "right now" to "back when." Perfect focus, vivid colors, and three dimensional contrast give way to lens blur, vignetting and dust spots.
Today's tools can also yield yesterday's photographs, and I hope remind us of image making before point and shoot.
My vision for this collection of images is to re-trace my early experiences in photographic labs with my own film photography as a journalist and industrial photographer in the 1970's and 1980's.
If you have been in a darkroom, the luminous glow of a wet 8x10 Extrachrome transparency or an B&W image rising in Dektol - these are almost magical experiences - difficult to recreate in digital methods. And unless you have held an ambrotype on glass or examined a Civil War era gutta-percha case with hand-painted tintype, the notion to regain historical photographic methods in the 21st century may seem like so much folly.
Image by Leslie Hancock
Future directions for www.ChuckDavisPhoto.com include re-photographic images of vintage work, and scan of negatives and slides from the 1960's, 70s and 80s.
Currently I'm an MFA Visual Arts candidate at Lesley University, the former Boston Arts Institute.
1976 photo by James Russell - re-photograhic image by Chuck Davis in 2009, digital processing 2015.