Reflections of a Photographer

September 1 to October 15, 2023

Saint Faye, 1972, Fred Price

Moravia, NY, resident Fred Price displays a collection of photographs from his long history as an artist. He will be giving an Artist’s Talk about his work at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, at the Schweinfurth. The talk is free with admission of $10.

Artist’s Statement

I was looking through past contact sheets and work prints, reflecting on my photographic career so far. Among the various subject matters that have been visually explored, reflections had the largest amount of material, negatives to finished prints. I am a picture maker. Photography is my medium. Almost all of my pictures are rectangles. Filling those rectangles is my art; shapes and textures and contrast are among my tools.

We can fill the frame with emptiness, or we can fill the frame with detail. You can do both. Some of my photographs of New York windows are of empty space with detail in the reflection of what happened across the street. As photographers, we have the endless resource of reality.

My misunderstanding of cubism is what lead me to cubism. I read, as a kid, that the cubists were trying to show more than one aspect of reality at the same time. On the Manhattan sidewalks store window, every window had a display and sometimes on the surface of the window, too. On the window sheltering that display is a reflection of stuff across the street. We sometimes stood, framing the image in the viewfinder and waiting for a pedestrian to walk into the picture.

My reflections offer a view of a reality that speaks to me: odd juxtapositions of images, the reality of the store window display, and the reality of those reflections. They combine to show a reality we would not have thought of, and it is always a surprise. Photography is removal; removing everything that impedes grasping the point of the picture. Those moments when you find the shapes and tones and textures and lighting and it feels good, then you take the picture. It is instant analysis, and the shutter is pressed when it feels right, feels good. We pursue art for the feelings we get doing our art.

About the Artist

I was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, which for a while was the third largest iron and steel producer in the country. One Christmas, my brother and I got a Kodak darkroom kit, and the coal bin became our darkroom.

I was in and out of both high school and the army before I got a job, saved some money, and moved to New York City, pulled by jazz music. I lucked into a job in professional photography, starting as a darkroom guy and gofer and worked my way up to a staff photographer job, which I eventually hated. The job is interesting as long as you barely know what’s going on. But once it is mastered, it’s the same every day.

Alternating between a staff photo job and freelancing, I would sometimes have non-photography jobs. Eventually, I traded my staff photographer job for a trip around the world as a budget traveler. After 91 days, I returned to New York and the freelance-job hunt dance.

Perfection has no interest for me. Excellence is good enough. I strive to have enough technique to allow me to execute my ideas. These range from simple to complex, as a jazz player might range from unaccompanied solo to a huge orchestra and find the same aural rewards.

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