Parents of school children were recently asked to determine whether their children were stupid or just lazy. In the case of this photo-exhibition, the answer is: I’m just lazy.
The show in question is experimental. It consists entirely of un-mounted prints with no mattes held against the wall under glass, and that’s all. On seeing a couple of my un-mounted prints, the people who have to hang this show accepted my unorthodox approach. In somewhat more respectable words they said, “No problem.”
Un-mounted prints with white margins all around are all I sent. Well, not quite all. In the package with the prints were two CD ROMs of all of the show’s photos: one disk in high resolution, in case they want to reproduce something on paper, and the other in low resolution, 72dpi, in case they want to put something on the internet.
Preparing prints for local shows a few years ago, I not only mounted and matted up to 50 prints per show, but also put them in aluminum section frames, complete with backboards and picture wire. This ran to such expense and so much labor that I began (gasp!) to think. Just mounting and matting a print ― never mind framing it ― was costing me considerably more time, labor and cash than it took to make the print. This was crazy. For shows from which prints would be sold for respectable prices, it’s worthwhile to hire a framer, but my little local shows had no such expectations. In gallery shows aimed toward sales, no problem: the gallery does the mounting, matting and framing. Museums that buy my photos prefer un-mounted prints.
After a few years of professional photography, making photos for magazines and portraits for actors, etc., I quit. I was tired of photographing as clients wanted it done, so I reclaimed my amateur standing. Since the middle 1960s, I have photographed just as I please, not as others might require. To earn a living, I wrote and edited for photo magazines and taught, privately at first, then at schools. These days it’s workshops, preferably together with Al Weber. Our quite different opinions and approaches show students that anything that works is good. We hope they will work like themselves, rather than like either of us.