Last night I had the pleasure of attending a special 40 year retrospective of the photographic work of long-time Greensboro photographer Rick Smith. Randolph Community College’s photography department honored Rick by hanging a show of his personal work going back some forty years. Rick was in attendance and gave a short talk on design, photography and how he has combined the two over the years to produce his extraordinary imagery. There was a large crowd there, including many former clients, associates and friends. The president of RCC presented Rick with a plaque in honor of the time and energy he has volunteered to the photography program at the school.
All in all it was a very special and moving evening. Rick was the first person to hire me as a commercial photography assistant. I worked as his apprentice. A large part of my photographic knowledge, in lighting as well as design, is directly because of his tutelage. Over the past 35 years, he has been a boss, a teacher, an associate, a competitor, the best still-life shooter I have ever known, a mentor, but most of all a friend. God bless you Rick.
(Black and white photographs copyright 2012 by Dan Routh)
For all those interested, Rick’s images will be on display in the RCC photo department in Asheboro, North Carolina until February 28, 2012. The public is invited to stop by and view them.
Last week I passed a milestone (sort of) on this blog in that I passed 500 posts. That’s about 2 years worth of posting five times a week. Guess it’s time to take a look at my blogging efforts and see where I am. I started my blog as a marketing effort for the most part and it continues in that vein. I post mostly images with the occasional prose, because that’s what I do. I take photographs, professionally. I have for some 34 years.
As a marketing effort, my blog has had mixed success. I wish I could say that perspective clients are running all over each other trying to book me, but they aren’t. I have booked jobs as a direct result of someone who found me online, but with the recession hitting the Greensboro area hard, work has become harder and harder to find, especially new work. I’ve also found that in order to make a blog work, you have to market the blog itself through social networking, forums, etc. So, in order to use a marketing device, you have to market it, and so on; something that quickly becomes very time consuming.
All of this marketing is on top of the time and effort it takes to produce content. After all the main reason for posting my work is to show folks something that I think is worthwhile seeing. Producing a “good” image every day, every week takes a lot of work, and I try not to post anything that I don’t consider good. Granted, some images are a lot better than others, but I do attempt to show something every day that will stand on it’s own. Some of my images come from actual jobs, but many are produced just for the blog.
So, where does all of this lead me? I will continue to post as much as I can. Any marketing success is dependent on how long you can continue it. I will also try to continue working on my craft, because when all is said and done, that has been the biggest benefit I have gotten from this whole experiment. I have made myself go out and shoot content just to be shooting. Even after 34 years, it’s amazing what you can get from practice. I think I’ve learned some things visually, and I sure have enjoyed doing it.
I’m getting ready for the opening of a solo show tomorrow evening at the Circa Gallery in Asheboro, North Carolina. The title of the show, “Images From the Green Table: Photographs by a Randolph County Photographer”, comes from a group of still-life photographs I produced this winter in my den. I will be showing those as well as other images from my local area and other places. Everyone is cordially invited to join me for the opening from 5-8PM. The show will run till April, 13. For more info, the Facebook event page is http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=111458188864340&index=1.
This image is from a recent commercial shoot. For this blog, I do a considerable amount of post-processing to my photographs. I look at a blog as a venue for experimenting and trying new things. How much is enough? Actually, I think enough to produce the feeling that I’m after in a photograph. Digital imaging has made it easier to do such work, but it’s nothing new. In film days we used to do all sorts of lab techniques and duping processes to produce the looks we wanted. It just took a little longer and was sometimes a little messier. Even black and white master Ansel Adams talked about the negative being the score and the print being the performance. A raw digital file is merely an electronic negative and it is up to each of us to decide where to take it.