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Galeria Tagomago in Barcelona last Thursday.

Fotografia Americana.

The exhibit featuring my County Fair pictures opened in Barcelona last Thursday.  The East coast–West coast theme of the show teamed me up with the wonderful photographs of Aline Smithson of the popular blog, Lenscratch.  Aline, who now lives in LA, represented the West coast with her series, Arrangement in Green and Black: Portrait of the Photographer’s Mother.  Aline and I, as far as I know, were not previously aware of the others’ work so I am all the more grateful to Galeria Tagomago for this introduction.

Aline Smithson's Arrangement in Green and Black in Sala 2.

No. 7. Photograph by Aline Smithson.

Aline’s photographs of her mother in different arrangements with found objects and costumes from yard sales are at first funny then moving as the complicity of Aline’s mother is realized.  The unique collaboration unfolds from image to image.  Aline’s mother’s age added a layer of significance to the collaboration since she never saw the completed series.  Aline writes:

This series had serendipitous beginnings.  I found a small print of Whistler’s painting, Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother, at a neighborhood garage sale.  The same weekend, I found a leopard coat and hat, a 1950’s cat painting, and what looked like the exact chair from Whistler’s painting.  That started me thinking about the idea of portraiture, the strong compositional relationships going on within Whistler’s painting, and the evocative nature of unassuming details.
The series incorporates traditional photography techniques, yet becomes richer with the treatment of hand painting.  It is my intent to have the viewer see the work in a historical context with the addition of color, and at the same time, experience Whistler’s simple, yet brilliant formula for the composition.

My patient 85 year-old mother posed in over 20 ensembles, but unfortunately passed away before seeing the finished series.  I am grateful for her sense of humor and the time this series allowed us to be together.

No. 15. Photograph by Aline Smithson.

No. 3. Photograph by Aline Smithson.

No. 13. Photograph by Aline Smithson.

I congratulate Aline for a great showing.  She was not able to make it to the opening, but I can say that her pictures were very popular among the lively crowd.

Last but not least,  special thanks to Vicenç and Valérie Boned of Galeria Tagomago for the opportunity to show at their gallery.  We were blown away by their generosity.

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I am just finishing up a job in San Diego this week and was reminded of belief that tripods for large format cameras should be… well.. large too.  It makes perfect sense if you think about it.  It’s a big camera, wouldn’t you want something sturdy under it?  And I am reminded of so many visits to camera stores where the well meaning salesperson was trying to suggest a tripod two sizes bigger than I would need.  But why would you want to make a heavy camera heavier?  I feel like there would be more large format photographers if it wasn’t made out to be such a macho sport.  I talk a lot about the camera but making pictures has nothing to do with the camera…  it has to do with how you see.  If you see what you want, the camera, whatever it’s size, disappears.

All images and content unless otherwise noted © Greg Miller