21st Century Hieroglyphics: Photographed by Sterling "Rip" Smith

9781453693506: 21st Century Hieroglyphics: Photographed by Sterling "Rip" Smith
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This book is based on my exhibit, "21st Century Hieroglyphics" at the Contemporary School for the Arts and Gallery in Hagerstown, Maryland in September, 2009. The images were captured in an old quarry in Quincy, Massachusetts. An area that at one time was filled with water has been filled in with earth, probably to prevent people from being injured or killed diving into the quarry water. The result is a grassy space surrounded by rock cliffs that have been liberally decorated with a wide variety of graffitti. I have made two trips to this place and it continues to be fascinating. Looking at these rough granite walls, you are assaulted by a visual cacophony of abstract designs, haunting beings, social commentary that ranges from poignant to sinister to celebratory to simply chaotic. As I walked around the area, I tried to imagine what an archeologist a thousand years from now would think upon the discovery of these strange messages painted on rock walls. Would they know about it that far in the future or would they look at this as evidence of some religious cult or political uprising.

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About the Author:

I have been doing photography off and on for nearly 50 years. I started with a folding camera and black & white roll film. Over time I have dabbled with various formats but mostly I have worked in 35mm. I enjoyed the versatility of the 35mm SLR and took on the challenge of making high quality images from this small format. Little by little I moved from the purely mechanical cameras through the modern 35mm single lens reflex cameras until I have finally embraced the digital world. I now work with a professional digital SLR, a computer, and an archival inkjet printer. In the 1960s I worked in a small photo studio where I spent many hours in the darkroom making black and white prints. Then I moved from still photography to television and video. I have now come full circle, returning to photography as art after a 30-year career in visual communication. With the great progress in the development of digital tools for photography over the last few years, the debate is pretty well settled as to whether digitally captured and processed images are valid art forms To me, photography is about the image, and the photographer's vision. All of the technical tools, whether film-based or digitally-based, are are nothing more or less than tools for translating the photographer's vision into a medium that can enjoyed by others.

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