Odette

Studio Nude, 2011

Here’s another photo of Odette that I made at the studio of a friend when I was in southern California last September.  She was fun to work with.  I do want to scan some more photos from this session, so hopefully I’ll be posting more soon.
Regarding more recent photographs, the truth is that I have not picked up my camera since November – half a year ago – as I’m trying to concentrate more on printing the negatives that I already have rather than spending time on developing more film.  Still, I do have something in the works for next month, so hopefully that will happen and I’ll be able to show some new work – whenever that will be.
Of course, besides those of Odette, I’ve got plenty more negatives to scan and print, too.

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I recently entered a competition to win free admittance to a workshop coming up in a few weeks titled Looking Ahead: Planning Your Photo Legacy.  It’s supposed to be about finding ways to find homes for one’s photos for posterity.  I’ve spent a lot of time and expended a lot of effort making a lot of prints over the years, and I do wonder what will eventually happen to them.
Sadly, I was informed yesterday that I didn’t win, but hey – nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Besides submitting a resume and some photos, people also needed to write an essay.  Here’s what I wrote.  I think it’s pretty good, but obviously it was not good enough.
Still, please take a few minutes to read it, as this is something that every artist will eventually have to face.  For those who may wonder, the story that I relate is true.  Here it is:
A few years ago, I saw a shopping cart in the basement of the building where I live.  The cart was crammed in with paintings.  Although I couldn’t get a good look at them, I was intrigued and made some inquiries.
What I found out made me sad, as I had seen these very same paintings just a month or two earlier on the walls of an apartment I had been in.  They were beautiful works, very colorful, Impressionistic in style, and nicely framed, too.  I asked the woman there if they were her’s, and she said no.
She explained that they were made by her father.  He had recently passed away, and she was there, in his apartment, to see to the disposition of his belongings.  I asked if she would be keeping the paintings, and she said no, as she didn’t have the room for them in her own home.
“So,” I thought to myself, “this is it.”  Her father had no doubt devoted a great deal of time, effort and passion into making these wonderful works of art.  At that moment, I never imagined that the fate of his creations would be to end up stuffed into a shopping cart, waiting to be unceremoniously discarded like yesterday’s trash.
Is this the ultimate fate of the art that we create?  If one’s name is not Weston, Avedon or the like, can a photographer expect the same for his or her work?
I have produced hundreds of silver prints in my darkroom since 1998.  I put my heart into it, as I believe in the beauty of the silver print and the hand produced art object.  As more people turn to digital machine printing, I believe that the importance and value of hand produced fine prints will increase.  I would like to attend this workshop to learn how I can find ways for my prints to survive, not only for my own legacy but for that of the hand produced photograph.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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2 Responses to Odette

  1. Lin says:

    That’s a sad story. I’d like to think that my kids will keep the best of what I produce, rather than dump it in the bin. Certainly I have always kept and displayed my mother’s tapestries, to which she devoted a significant chunk of her life creating. They are her legacy – I could never part with them.

    I agree with you regarding the beauty of the Silver print. I used to be very much “digital is all” and “traditional prints are obsolete.” I was an idiot. I’ve seen some very beautiful digitally printed work in my time, but now I realise that there is nothing quite like the beauty of the hand crafted silver print.

    I hope you find a good home for your legacy, Dave, as your work is beautiful and it would be a tragedy if your photographs were lost.

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