Photographs and Text ©1969-2017, Carl Weese
Carl, this photo intrigued me. It seems to have a LOT in common with your platinum work. Did you happen to make a 7x17? Logistically, do you normally carry the large format equip when you are out and about? (I know it is a pain to carry). Is it easy for you to go between 'color mode' and 'b&w mode', small camera v. large camera mode. Or is it more that once you get a way of working you tend to stay that way. I wonder that if I go somewhere with the intent of making an image for whatever project I am working on, do I miss other interesting things because I am thinking one way? For example, I went to the park the other day to photograph a statue in a particular light and even though I wandered a mile home and made other images, they were all very similar to what I went out for in the first place.
Good question, and I don't have a definite answer. I think I'm in transition on this. In 2002 when I did my two-week norther-tier drive-in theater hunt, I didn't even pack my Leicas in the truck. But before that I went for a decade or so without ever using the Deardorff.Late last year though, I made a short trip to central/western PA to shoot half a dozen DIs with the big cameras, but also did a lot of color digital capture urban landscape work, like you see on WP. I think I may be moving in this direction and getting comfortable with it, though on short excursions nearby I don't bother to load up the big cameras.As for looking for one thing and finding another...my White Churches project came about entirely from shooting churches that I stumbled across while actually searching for drive-in theaters. Some accomplished photographers I know have been astonished that I could "see" the churches while looking for the drive-ins, while others think it's the most natural thing in the world. I seem to like the framework of dealing with "projects" but at the same time working on only one at a time would feel much too restrictive.
I agree that dealing with one project at a time would feel restricting and yet after I photographed that statue for a project I "AM" working on, I was 'done' with the project for the day - had done what I came to do, yet the other images made that day are similar. I wonder if it is because working on a project is really trying to answer some question that a photographer is carrying around and I hadn't satisfied the question - or at least done with the fascination of it. Could your DI and church photographs be really coming at a 'question' from two different points of view?
"Could your DI and church photographs be really coming at a 'question' from two different points of view?"Most definitely. Both are studies of architecture, formal and vernacular (some of the churches are as vernacular as the DIs), set in the widely-varied American landscape. They are even graphically similar--lots of white--and odd as it might seem there is a common sociological element in that churches and drive-in theaters both carry strong emotional and even nostalgic connections for people.
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