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March 20, 2009

If I had a lot of money I would collect art and photography on a grand scale. I would collect what I liked, regardless of name, value, etc. And, I would find a way to show what I collected.

I don’t have the fortune required, or the space, but I still collect, just on a smaller scale than I would like.

Recently I bought two pieces from New Mexico based photographer Karen Kuehn. I had not met Karen, but knew within minutes of meeting her, just how much photography was a part of her being. There are plenty of people who learn photography, but then there are others who were born photographers, and I think Karen falls into this category.

Looking through beautiful boxes of vintage prints, the most difficult thing was making a choice on the images. Karen is prolific, and her subject matter tremendously varied. I kept finding images and saying to myself, “Okay, this is the one,” only to look further and find something else.

I settled on two images, one a split-tone, silver image of Cher, for my wife, and the second a cibachrome image of Sally Mann and her kids. Upon seeing the Sally Mann image I had to look away because I knew I would really want to have that piece. Sally Mann is one of my all time favorite photographers, and someone who I think has influenced huge numbers of photographers over many generations. She too is varied and prolific…..a pattern developing here???

There is something truly satisfying in buying another photographers work. I find looking at, and collecting the work of others far more enjoyable than looking at my own work or framing my own images. I think it is perhaps because we can appreciate what it took, what it really took to make the pictures, to make the prints and make the commitment.

I feel that the print is a small piece of the photographer, a small piece of the people in the image, and they now live with us. I think prints can speak to us in a way. Their depth, what they represent, a reminder to us of what once was, for just an instant, and what will never be again. With time they only get stronger.

These prints are now at the framer. We have walked our tiny house discussing where they should live, what other images they will be happy next to, and how they will effect the mood of a room or light source. Now we wait for them to come home.

For those of you who don’t know Karen Kuehn, take a look at the link below.

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