This late afternoon image was made in December 2011 with Provia 100f slide film. The sun was still bright but the year was drawing down and all the colors were starting to fade. Especially in Asheville, where once the fall leaves disappear it can get rather dreary.
However, this wall in the Asheville River Arts District was a massive antidote to the gray. Seeming impervious to temperature or surroundings, the wall stood (and stands) not with an active purpose, but maybe just with an identity. A bit of an unmmoving block of color holding court with itself. I had walked this neighborhood many times to get out from behind my desk and get a bit of fresh air, and although I had photographed the wall with digital and negative color film, I had never really felt like I had made an image that was fully present in both color and texture. However, this one last walk of the year I had slide film loaded and the time was right.
One of the hardest, for me, challenges when shooting an image like this is to get it all lined up properly. Any tilt up/down or left/right will be very noticeable in the finished image, and taking care in the moment to true your lines pays dividends later. I think I still have a bit of vertical misalignment, with the top titled slightly away from the film plane, but overall the wall and the film seem to line up pretty well. Exposure with the in-camera mechanism, check focus and with a click the image is made.
I’ve discussed the benefits/process of slide film before, especially regarding the viewing of an image and seeing the miniature world within. With this image the experience was nearly transcendent. It was like holding pure light, this amazing transparent yet solid emulsion of orange and blue. I am no way with Rothko’s talent, but I imagine his wonder at a completed color field painting to be much the same as when I first held the developed image above.
It was made with a Fuji GA645, quite a workhorse medium format camera. If you aren’t familiar with one, think of a wide-angle rangefinder with autofocus capability. Extremely sharp elements and very accurate metering. It is a fun camera that I’ve used many times over.
This image is meaningful for two reasons — the first is that after many attempts with a subject, I was finally able to find the right combination of material and process to get a satisfactory image. The second reason is this photograph helped push my boundaries a little bit. Removing people, nature, and many extraneous items from the image I was presented with slight texture and complementary colors.