On Friday I had the opportunity to have a wide ranging conversation with David Haas. We discuss his living a true photographic life as a college professor, professional fine art silver printer and photographer, who’s images reside in individual, corporate and museum collections. Check it out!
The title of this project, A War Without Blood and Gore, comes from a line in a Vietnam War-era protest song by the American singer-songwriter Phil Ochs entitled “Draft Dodger Rag.” It goes: “If they ever give a war without blood and gore, I’ll be the first to go.”
I photographed World War II re-enactors at events organized for the public in 2014 and 2015, as well as aboard a restored1944 Liberty Ship wartime freighter – a time frame that roughly paralleled the 70th anniversary of the last year of the war. They used as many authentic period artifacts as possible – weapons, vehicles, uniforms, etc. – to recreate the lives of the soldiers, sailors and aviators who fought in the Second World War.
Most of the re-enactors were men in their 20s and 30s, although there were some women and children dressed in “home front” period clothes or in the uniforms of various women’s military branches; many of them told me of hearing the stories of grandparents who’d been in the war. I got a sense of their longing for those “good” years, for a simpler time, when there was a sharp delineation between good and evil. World War II was perceived as the last war that the U.S. decisively won, when the entire country pulled together in a common existential struggle.
The re-enactors were very knowledgeable about the World War II period and happy to answer questions. They gave various reasons for re-enacting: some wanted to pay homage to the war’s veterans and their sacrifices; others were living history buffs who wanted to bring a past era to life for modern audiences. I also suspected that a number of them liked the camaraderie, the chance to camp out and to fire off guns with blank ammunition in a harmless and more or less socially-acceptable way. It was unsettling to see German uniforms, some of them with SS collar tabs. However, these German-uniformed re-enactors assured me that they didn’t share the philosophy or have any admiration for the Nazis; they felt that somebody had to be the enemy.
I photographed the re-enactors with cameras that would have been used during World War II – 35mm and medium-format rangefinders — and black and white film that I processed and printed myself. I believe that, in many ways, this project documenting re-enactors reflects the present United States, with all of its ambivalences and uncertainties, as much as it recreates the vanished world of the 1940s.
Monalog member Jim Fitzgerald takes us for a tour of his current show at LightBox Photographic Gallery in Astoria, Oregon and shows us his incredible accompanying handmade fine press edition book. In Part 1 Jim provides a tour of the show. In Part 2 Jim discussed the making of his book. In Part 3 Jim shows how he developed cabon transfer text for book. In Part 4 Jim continues his discussion on the developing text pages for the book. Enjoy!
Covid has caused all of us to be creative in ways we have not been before. Because it is not currently possible for Monalog to schedule in-person photographic events, the Collective will be hosting a series of exciting virtual events until we and our fellow black and white analog photographers can get together. Your Covid-19 Photographic Life is the first of Monalog’s virtual events. This event features an intimate discussion with Monalog Collective members Michael Marks, Paul Margolis and David Haas concerning the photographic challenges they have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the first day of spring I had the opportunity to have a wonderful conversation with Marty Frank. Marty is a sensitive photographer, as well as a practicing physician who strikes an important balance between work and artistic passion. We discuss the parallels in his professional and photographic lives as well as and the challenges he has faced during the pandemic. Check out our conversation!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to have a far ranging conversation with Jim Fitzgerald. For those that don’t know Jim well, not only is he a wonderful photographer, but he is a master of carbon transfer printing, a maker of handmade books and a camera builder! Check out our conversation!
I am very excited to announce that Monalog now has its own Youtube channel. We plan on making a number of exciting videos of interest to the black and white analog community, and will also showcase other videos we think you will enjoy. Check it out at: