Tony Mendoza: Flowers
Tony Mendoza lands on my short list of photographers that just make me happy. I find myself returning time and time again to his work, and I share his work in my classes on a regular basis. Michael Werner, from Two Way Lens, has a terrific and worth-reading interview with Mr. Mendoza. Part of his statement for Flowers follows below; a complete essay can be found here. Meter Gallery is presenting this new portfolio, titled Garden 2.
I must admit I’ve become a born-again photographer. For over thirty years, I’ve always photographed things that I observe in the world and find visually interesting. I’ve always enjoyed pictures with interesting light and good form and especially, pictures that capture a moment that seems to reveal something curious, or unfamiliar. The problem with this kind of photography is that it is not set up or contrived, like most contemporary photography one sees in galleries, and worse, one has to take a lot of pictures to get a good one. With film cameras, the film costs a lot of money, and it took hours to process the film, wait for the film to dry, then make contact sheets, then make the prints, and all the while I was always suspicious that the chemical fumes in the darkroom were going to kill me. I was finding it more and more difficult to go into the darkroom. Now, with digital cameras, the film is free. I love that, and it’s encouraging me to shoot a lot, like when I started in photography. I like how I get instant feedback when I shoot a picture, and on the next shot I can correct the problems. For this project, I took 2000 pictures the first summer and 4000 the second. I estimate that it would have cost me quite a few thousand dollars just for film and processing and I would have spent countless hours breathing fixer fumes. I never would have done it.
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