David Plowden anyone?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by medform-norm, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Happy!

    We just discovered David Plowden through Gorden Coale's great weblog. Now here's an American photographer we can relate to. Nice clean images, great compositions, especially when he's not doing portraits. Here's the link:
    http://www.davidplowden.com

    Anyone share our enthusiasm?
     
  2. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I was familiar with his work thanks to the Schenectady County Public Library - they have his book on Industrial America in their collection. But I was pleased to see that there is more to his vision.

    I was also pleased to see that his vision does not extend to the roots and rocks, Wagnerian mountainscapes, or slot canyons favored by most landscape photographers.
     
  3. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    ME-ME-ME-ME-ME! Thanks for the link Norm. And I'm very glad to see passionate interest in Plawden's work outside of the USA.

    Plowden is one I can really identify with having grown up and currently living in the rural USA he so eloquently photographs. Several of those places in Kansas are within an hour's drive.

    Whenever I see Plowden's work, I kick myself in the rear for not having started seriously photographing when I was much younger, in the late 60s early 70s. Much of magic, I will say character, of rural USA that he presents has vanished and will never be regained. I'm truly sorry that I missed a lot of it photographically. Much of my photographic agenda is the same as Plowden's but it has gotten difficult to find the subject matter.
     
  4. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Wagnerian mountainscapes? In the US? Is that politically correct? I'd never guessed. Here in Europe the name Wagner immediately rings a series of bells with laden names on them. Something which herr W. himself can't help.

    All joking aside, I'm glad to see more people share our preference.
     
  5. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

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    Plowden is certainly one of my favorites. Fortunately, his work is well suited to presentation in book form, and he has published several. I particularly enjoy "IMPRINTS," which has a wonderful selection of his images. Unfortunately, it doesn't include my personal favorite: The little girl on a mini-bike.
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I had not heard of him before, but his work is quite enjoyable. Reminds me of what the US used to be like - back when times were simpler.
     
  7. Nancy Gutrich

    Nancy Gutrich Member

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    Very interesting work. Last I knew he lives about a mile from me, though I've never met him. He had been invited to talk at a group I belonged to for many years but he was unable to make it because of last minute "stuff", unfortunately. Several years ago I recorded a biographical film about him narrated by Bill Curtis off one of our local public television networks. It's called David Plowden Light,Shadow,Form...I don't know if the film is available but if your interested in him, you would find it very interesting. He's well published.
     
  8. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Doesn't float my boat.

    I like a little more contrast and drama in photographs.

    Too much gray for my taste.

    Michael
     
  9. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Phew, I'm glad it's only too much gray for Mr. Blansky. Could have been worse, could have been 'too liberal' - and that would have been worse :wink:

    Michael, this shows again how completely contrary in nature we are - but it doesn't bother me in the least.
     
  10. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Too much liberal use of gray.

    I wonder if he knows that you can buy contrast filters for his enlarger.
    Just kidding.

    You people are sooooo serious.



    Michael
     
  11. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    On the contrary.
     
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    These look great. As my wife would say "you can see everything on these photos." You will gather from this that she feels my prints have too much contrast and I sacrifice light and tones to get a "punchy" print. I do and fail to achieve either. The light and the tones are tremendous. I must try Pan F again.

    Pentaxuser
     
  13. Bill Hahn

    Bill Hahn Member

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    David Plowden DVD

    You can buy a DVD about David Plowden here:

    http://www.wgvu.org/store/

    It's quite good. I have two of his books, "The American Barn" (which he was doing at the time of the movie) and "End of An Era", the latter being about
    the ore boats on the Great Lakes.
     
  14. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

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  15. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Far and away my favorite photographer. For years I never realized other folks phographed steel mills and bridges (I'm a structural engineer). And then I found a Plowden book . . . and then Bernd & Hilla Becher . . . and on and on. But Plowden's photos are what I had always been trying, and mostly failing, to make my photos look like.
     
  16. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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  17. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I don't know what "relate to" means...
    I find this utterly boring, but thats me.. never been to America, thus I can't see the spetacular in these images.
    (not speaking of his technical merits..)
     
  18. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I remember going through a phase of self-doubt about my own photography after picking up a book of his work about 12 years ago and realizing he had already covered a lot of the subject matter I shoot. That is when I realized that everything or every idea has been photographed already and one just has to forget about others and just work with what you enjoy.

    Most of his work has a great resonance for me because the rural images are where I grew up. I don't expect someone from overseas or the east coast to understand an area like the Great Plains and its appeal and hold on some people. I also can relate to many of the industrial pictures. As a kid when we went on vacation we were always side tracking and then being suprised when we would pull up to a factory or dam or mine that my dad had called ahead of time and arranged a tour for us.

    They have a couple of his prints at the University of Nebraska museum and all I can say is they are much better in person then they reproduce on a web site.
     
  19. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Those are formidably precise negative exposures and development, which then led to equally precise prints!

    Would LOVE to see the real thing!!

    Murray
     
  20. Marv

    Marv Member

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    The real thing is worth the effort, Murray.

    I happen upon a traveling exhibit of prints from "A Sense of Place" a few years back. They were 11X14 to 16X 20's taken in Iowa, away from the rivers.

    Farms, grain elevators, small town stores, rural midwest scenes, before the "industrialization" of the family farm. Simple on the surface, but very complex once you take the time to really look at them.

    End of an Era, on the other hand, is made up of bold images that need to be viewed for thier complexity.

    He is very talented and has a fantastic eye.
     
  21. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    If you like David Plowden, which I do very much, check out the work of Wright Morris. He photographed in the 1940's, primarily in Nebraska. his books include "The Inhabitiants" and "The Home Place." (He was the second photographer to receive a Gogenheim.)
     
  22. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Since I have been a railfan longer than a serious photographer, Plowden was part of my vocabulary well before Weston, Evans or Adams was.