I had the pleasure and honor of being the juror for Low Tech at the Fort Collins Center for Fine Art Photography.
I was excited to see so many great entries, almost 2000 of them. So many ideas, so many processes, it was a rough, rough edit.
I want to thank Hamidah Glasgow and Azarie Furlong for the honor of being part of this great show, for their support, and for hanging so beautifully this mammoth show that fills the space, educates the public about how creative photography can be, and showcases a international pool of talent. It is a show we can all be proud of.
We will be focusing on the artwork of the show here on the Flat File. I hope you like it as much as I do.
This was my artist statement – it speaks to process, but also to creativity.
In this world of high tech gadgets, megapixels and digital color management, the craft of photography is often buried in the details. We find ourselves asking, how did you do that? What camera did you use? What film? Is that digital? What filter in
Photoshop? How many layers does that have? Is that really a conversation we should be having?
The low tech approach allows us to talk about the images, what the intent of the artist is, and the craft and creativity of photography. The idea of “low tech” photography is a contradiction in terms, alternative processes like Palladium,
Ambrotype, Cyanotype and Gum Bichromate require extensive skill, patience and an attention to detail. It requires the artist to pre-visualize the work from concept to print, taking into account its inconsistency and ability to have a serendipitous
result. Using toy cameras, like a Diana or Holga, give us the opportunity to expect the unexpected. For these processes, film is not an arcane museum object, but a living tool, the base to work magic from. That plastic coated light sensitive material
that exposes our ideas, flexible and tangible, enables artists an extended range for creativity.
This exhibition, Low Tech, is a celebration of attention to detail, of craft and composition, and lastly about process.
Leigh Anne Langwell’s other worldly photograms swim in primordial ooze, or stretch towards the outer reaches of the solar system. Her structured process is one of creating clever architectural abstracts through meticulous efforts. Ben Panter
takes the truest course of low tech with his pinhole landscapes. Exposures made through common household objects like an egg carton or breath mint tin prove it isn’t the camera, but the idea and execution that matters. Walt Jones used hot wax to sculpt dancers leaping across the page. Grant Hamilton and Leon Alesi used the instant technology of Polaroid to craft colorful abstract stories. With a toy Holga camera, we see Marita Gootee’s kid filled poolside.
Low Tech spans the gamut of processes, ideas and visions. Landscapes, Portraits, Still Lifes, all exposing us to the talent and creativity of the medium, as well as its talented artists.