The Best Thing About America

It is Sunday, and the end of a week without any real work is coming to a close. The memories of the latest trip to West Virginia are still floating in my mind, fueled by looking through the book Coal Hollow: Photographs and Oral Histories by Ken and Melanie Light.

This book shows images and words from many of the areas that I explored on the last trip to WV. It is always interesting to see how other photographers see the world. I really enjoy some of Ken’s images like the one of nine-year-old Amy of Besoco, WV holding her doll (I have not been able to find a digital version of this image yet), but others I am not so crazy about. Some of his images I do not like as well, but his style is something that I can connect with much more than that of Shelby Lee Adams (although I love his work) because most of them he is pulling from the continuum of life, not like that posed images of Adams. Just as I was amazed at the other world that exist along the Arizona/Mexico border, I am amazed at the world hiding in the hills West Virginia, Kentucky, and my home state of Tennessee. To me the best thing about America, is not the “American Dream”, but the diverse people and environments there are to explore!

Today has been a busy day for me as I have been finishing up a book review for Focal Press that is due tomorrow. The book is Pinhole Photography: Rediscovering a Historical Technique (3rd Edition) by Eric Renner. I was contacted by Focal Press to review this book because of some of my past digital pinhole work, which was interesting because I have not worked with pinhole in a while, although I have been thinking of some projects recently, so I was excited to have the opportunity. I look forward to seeing what they come up with for a 4th edition.

While on the subject of pinhole photography, I would like to give a shout out to a company that is making some truly cool pinhole cameras. The company is Zero Image, and you may have heard of them if you are working with pinhole, or have looked into it. They have a group on Flickr, with a link to it from their site, it is pretty crazy how far reaching Flickr has become! If you are looking for a really nice pinhole rig, something a huge leap forward in craftsmanship than some kit you got off of Ebay, then check them out! I will be making a new purchase from them soon 🙂

So I have brought up John Coffer, and his Jamboree a few times on here so I thought that I would share an old newspaper article from 1979 that a fellow wet-plate artist posted on Flickr today. The Jamboree is coming up fast, and I am really looking forward to seeing John and once again exploring the back roads of upstate New York.

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~ by Phil Nesmith on July 8, 2007.

One Response to “The Best Thing About America”

  1. whoo hoo! Jamboree coming up! Somehow I never thought I’d be excited about heading back to upstate NY….

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