Archive | September, 2015

Thomas Willard

23 Sep

Rendered space:

This ongoing series of images is an inquiry into open space.

In the tightly constricted environments of the urban/industrial landscape, open space is almost an afterthought. Trapped between walls and fences, space is a limited commodity, its purpose primarily utilitarian. “Rendered,” as if extracted from the landscape.

In broad daylight the accoutrements of these spaces declare themselves as painted descriptions, delineations and formations, all intended to maintain order.

Two-dimensional surfaces dominate.

Priorities are revealed.


Photographic Formula:

Notice the unnoticed.

It goes beyond place. It’s not about your hardware. It’s about perception and spontaneity in the unfolding moment.

The quality of light, first and foremost.

Space or the lack thereof.

Time, incremental.

Composition, arrangements within the frame. Noticed ambiguities, coordinated resonance.

It all adds up.


A few words about myself:

As an inner-city kid growing up on the edge of a large industrial section near downtown Los Angeles the idea of open space didn’t really enter my mind. Tarmac covered my school playground and concrete sequestered the front lawn (even the adjacent Los Angeles “River” was lined with a thick coat of concrete). As with most of the kids in my neighborhood, this was taken for granted as an environmental fact of life.

It wasn’t until we went on a family camping trip to the eastern part of California that I realized that other, more expansive, realities existed. I have been attempting to come to terms with that early experience ever since, partly through photography.

My immersion into the photographic arts began with the purchase of my first camera, a “Hanimex Praktica, Nova 1b,” in 1970. Later I graduated to a 2.8 Rolleiflex and realized that true quality could be achieved with a medium format negative. In 2004 I took the leap to digital imagery.

A few college classes here, compared notes there. Friends, gallery visits, museum openings, books.

It all adds up.

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