From time to time, I’ll be posting updates about the 15 images I’ve decided in include in the 2013 PlainSky, Nebraskans show; it’s my way of cataloging the show overall, as well as allowing others to offer feedback on my choices of prints.
Today, I’m adding the second image to the show: Tribute to Andrew Wyeth, Sioux County Museum (see at the end of the post for the other image-it’s a slightly different one than I’ve mentioned before, as I think it’s a stronger image). It was the first image I posted on this blog, and one that has special meaning to me. It was shown elsewhere online soon after I shot it, and as I’ve said before, published without hope of recognition. I simply loved the photo, even as I was taking it, previsualizing the resulting print, recognizing a private moment of personal satisfaction.
You see, like many, I am greatly moved by the works of Andrew Wyeth. Not as much his nudes, but more his still life and landscape paintings; his use of neutral tones, perspective and light are, well, as everyone knows, brilliant. As I stood in the foyer of the Sioux County Museum on a late afternoon in January, transfixed by the light’s transformation of the neutral hats on the right to colored garments on the left, I felt Wyeth’s influence. I didn’t make the image to copy him, or even tribute his composition, colors or control–I just looked at the scene, and it seemed to evoke the spirit of his work, The Trammel. So, for 15 minutes, I stayed and made this image. It evokes a constant feeling of serenity, contemplation and warmth for me; as my mentor has said about it, “It’s a quiet image.”
Soon after publishing the photo, I received an unsolicited compliment that continues to shake me to my bones:
Andrew Wyeth was sort of a second-father to me, a best friend and mentor. I knew him from the time I was seven (1957). So, maybe I have some justifiable basis for an attitude about how many people knock off his work, in many cases openly imitating it. I hate it but that just goes with territory like his. Having said that, however, your piece is somehow different. I never, I mean never, go out of my way to write notes like this, but your piece somehow transcends the ordinary. As Andy used to say, “It has a quality.” Without intending a pun, my hat’s off to you. – Peter Ralston
So, the image will be included. It’s not a Wyeth, it’s my own, and I’m quite proud of it, especially after its endorsement by Mr. Ralston, whose accolades include portraits in the Smithsonian permanent collection. His images are stunning, and when he speaks, photographers and artists listen. As do I for the PlainSky, Nebraskans show: Thanks, Peter Ralston. Thanks.