Friday, April 15, 2011

Thoughts on Photography for a Friday:

In a letter to Ansel Adams on May 3, 1955 Beaumont Newhall wrote the following:

"There cannot be a man of any sensitivity today who is not shocked, bothered and distressed by every issue of the newspaper...In the face of all the present turmoil and unrest and unhappiness...what can a photographer, a writer, a curator do?...To make people aware of the external things, to show the relationship of man to nature, to make clear the importance of our heritage, is a task that no one should consider insignificant...These are days when eloquent statements are needed."

The date May 3 is a few weeks in the future. The year 1955...56 years in the past.  The thought is for today.  "To make people aware of the external things, to show the relationship of man to nature, to make clear the importance of our heritage." This is the responsibility we carry as photographers.

be strong, be safe,  Carlan

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eliot Porter - Tesuque, New Mexico:
The opening of the Earth Now Exhibit in Santa Fe this past weekend was packed with events surrounding the exhibit.  On Sunday afternoon Nancy and I were invited to a small reception at Eliot Porter's home in Tesuque.  What made the visit to the Porter home so exciting for Nancy and I was the original experience we had in 1985.  In that year we had made a trip to Santa Fe.  Spending several days in Santa Fe we explored every gallery and took in the great history of artists in New Mexico.  We stopped in one gallery and viewed an original portfolio of dye transfer prints made by Eliot Porter.  Knowing he lived just outside of Santa Fe in Tesuque, we looked up the address and drove by the house.  That is what we saw...the outside of the house.  On this past Sunday we finished the experience by being invited inside.

The house is beautiful.  Being a photographer I was very excited to see his darkroom and work area.
The dye transfer process Eliot used for his color prints is very involved.  It was not unusual for the process to take over 40 hours per print to obtain proper densities and color.
Today there remains only a small number of photographers who understand the art and craft of dye transfer color print making.
Most of the materials required to create dye transfer prints are no longer available today.  The materials and methods have been replaced by digital ink jet printers.

As Nancy and I walked out of the darkroom we stopped to view a portfolio of original color dye transfer prints open on the table.  My breath was taken away by the color, luminance, depth, let alone the emotional impact of Eliot Porter's color landscape work.

What a Sunday.  Twenty-six years later we were invited inside.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Lesson for the day:

Thanks everyone for the emails regarding the video. Always learning something new. Sorry if you received a big black square on the last post via email. :-) My lesson for the day: when you embed a video into the does not travel with the email version. is the video...sitting on the blog at

Never too old to learn new tricks.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Earth Now: Video interview

During this past year as the Earth Now Exhibit was being created Katherine Ware ask me to do a video interview discussing my Question of Power work.  I would like to share this short video with you.  It provides my thoughts on the direction, purpose, and importance of the photographs made for Question of Power.
be strong, be safe, Carlan

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment:

I am pleased to announce that photographs from Question of Power have been selected as part of the Earth Now exhibition, website, and book. It is an honor to be included in this exhibition with my mentor, Ansel Adams.
The New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM
Opening Reception: April 8, 2011 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Exhibition will be open from April 8 - October 9

"Ansel Adams' and Eliot Porter's landscape photography fueled a growing concern for the environment in this country. Their idealized, unpopulated landscapes set the standard for twentieth-century photography. Earth Now begins with a suite of works by these two artists and moves on to a group of photographers who came of age in the 1970s."

Please visit the Earth Now website to view the online exhibit and video interviews.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Monday, April 4, 2011

Santa Monica College: Question of PowerWe had a great opening last Saturday evening 4/2 at Santa Monica College Photography Gallery. I wanted to especially thank Ford Lowcock and the Photography Department at the college for all of their help and support. Santa Monica College has a terrific photography program with around 1800 students.Lucy A. Willie - Question of Power exhibit will be in the Gallery until May 13, 2011. The Photography Gallery Hours are Monday - Friday 10am - 3pm & 5pm - 7pm. The Gallery is located on the Santa Monica College campus 2nd Floor, Drescher Hall. If you are in the area please stop by and view the exhibit.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Santa Monica, California:

Santa Monica College will host an exhibit of the work of documentary photographer and educator, Carlan Tapp from April 2 to May 13. The exhibit features 40 black and white prints showing the effects of coal mining and coal-fired power production on the lives of a Navajo community near Farmington, New Mexico. The work centers around Lucy Willey, a Navajo elder whose personal story symbolizes the fate of her community.

On the road again. Arrived in Los Angeles yesterday. Spent some time with the students in the photography department at Santa Monica College reviewing their work and discussing their photographic goals. Saw some great work from young emerging photographers. This afternoon (Saturday) I will be presenting a public lecture on the work of Question of Power at 4 P.M. The lecture will include stories from the Navajo Nation, TVA Kingston TN, Uniontown AL, and Bokoshe OK. The opening of the exhibit is scheduled from 5-7 P.M. A "big thank you" to everyone for your support for the work of Question of Power and getting the exhibit and stories to Santa Monica.

be strong, be safe, Carlan