Dave Read: The States Project: Nebraska
I first met Dave Read in 1999 while trying to get an override into his Beginning Photography class at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Read is interested in the world and all of its complexities. His images push back against our innate human desire to categorize, alphabetize, and package. He understands that this human tendency repeatedly leads to a general oversimplification of subjects that are often too complex to be so quickly digested. He is hunting for fleeting moments of precision where the photographer’s sensibility and the unfolding world converge in a manner that is beyond belief and expectations. He is advocating for a longer pause. At a time in which photography is saturated with ultra-specific, concept driven work, it is refreshing to see a group of images which remind us that the world is more interesting and confounding than our imagination.
Dave Read grew up in a small town in Maine and worked for a time as a log driver on the Kennebec River. He was educated at Ohio University, taught Photography for forty years, and retired from the University of Nebraska in 2004. He loved teaching but, 12 years after retirement he still has nightmares about showing up for class without his slides.
His photographs have been exhibited extensively and are represented in several public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, and the Sheldon Memorial Art Museum.
In golf, every shot gets counted, in basketball, even in ping pong. You have to keep that balance between trying as hard as you can and not losing control. That’s why photography is my favorite sport—you only have to count the ones you make. Every day my ball ends up in the woods. I hit in the wrong direction, watch it bounce it off a tree, hit a rock, skim across the water, roll up the hill and onto the green where a squirrel kicks it into the cup. That’s the shot I remember, and I only have to count it when the miracle actually happens. Of course, the challenge is knowing when I did hit the target. The rules are kind of skimpy there; they keep changing, and the cup keeps moving….
These shots were taken in and around Naples, Italy, in 2014. It’s a place that has been prominent in my dreams since 1958, I was 19 then, and my mother told me: “If you’re going to Italy you should have a camera.”
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Rana Young: The States Project: NebraskaMarch 20th, 2016
Larry Gawel: The States Project: NebraskaMarch 19th, 2016
Walker Pickering: The States Project: NebraskaMarch 18th, 2016
Shelley Fuller: The States Project: NebraskaMarch 17th, 2016
Jonnie Andersen: The States Project: NebraskaMarch 16th, 2016