November 27, 2013
I stumbled on the work of Ron Cowie after my recent experience of using large format cameras at American River on Kangaroo Island when I overexposed some photos of the marshlands, thereby destroying the richness and subtle of the colour.
Ron Cowie, Kingdom Of Obviousness, from Leaving Babylon series
With respect to his Leaving Babylon series Cowie talks about using his 8×10 camera:
One day, when I was between two assignments at Connecticut College. I brought my 8×10 camera along and just set it up along a path to make a picture. It was boring until the idea came “You don’t have to photograph it the way it actually looks to make a successful image.”...I was liberated and able to make images that represented how I felt instead of simple documents of what I saw. Here I was with a camera capable of all sorts of swings, tilts and adjustments, every black and white color filter one could have, and I was always trying to make things look “normal”.... didn’t wait for good light because I assumed all light was good light. My job was to work with the light as it was, not how I wanted it to be. The result was a body of work that got things wrong, broke boundaries, and, once again, blurred lines between an interior and exterior world.
Cowie says that he was doing something with his camera that painters had been doing all along: interpreting the land and transforming it into something personal. He could make a world with his camera that didn't exist in any other medium. He found the process exhilarating.
Ron Cowie, Where There Is No Boat, I Will Put A Boat, from the Leaving Babylon series
Cowie makes make high-resolution scans of his negatives, interprets the images as he has seen them, and he makes new digital negatives for the sole purpose of platinum printing, which is a contact printing process.