Richard Stangl and Ralph Singer are among the six Bay Area artists who have contributed their work as rewards for donors in the RESTLESS HUNGARIAN FUNDING CAMPAIGN. Going live on January 16th, the goal of the 30-day campaign is to raise $50,000 to pay for the completion of principal photography, film editing, and completion of the book manuscript.
Every dollar you contribute during the campaign will be matched by Beacon Reader as part of its initiative supporting immigrants’ stories. (Beacon, our crowd-funding platform, is devoted exclusively to journalism projects.)
If you would like to own one of the works of art featured in this post be sure make your donation early, starting on January 16th, and claim it as yours.
This is the second of three posts featuring contributing artists and their work. Paul Weidlinger cherished his relationships with painters, sculptors, and creative architects, so, it’s fitting that art works are among the rewards being offered.
As a young man looking for meaning in life, Richard Stangl quit his job in management at a tech company and spent a year shooting four rolls of film a day. He loaded his own film, made dark-room prints from black-and-white negatives and photographed small rodeos, portraits, and images from daily life. He says: “Photography fed me. It gave me a connection to the world around me. It was my way of recording how I experienced people, places, and the things that I saw on a daily basis and wanted to remember.”
But using a camera as a personal mnemonic device (the way most people use their cell phones today) wasn’t enough. Emotional context and content were needed. Richard was especially moved by the work of Eliot Porter, whose wilderness images in vivid color became a tool for promoting the mission of the Sierra Club. Another influence was Joel Meyerowitz, who challenged the black-and-white, mid-20th century status quo, and won acceptance for color photography as a fine art.
Synthesizing what he has learned from these masters, Richard went on to use color to create emotional context: images that evoke a yearning or desire.
“For me, color needs to talk to emotions and engage the viewer in the image, so that there is something wished for. You want to be in that location, or you want to get that feeling it creates for you. The experience can be somber. It can be exciting. It can be contemplative.”
What makes a landscape photograph more than a pretty picture? The critical issue is light. Richard makes it a practice to return to the same location, the same vantage point, sometimes hundreds of times. He says: “When I go out with my camera, I am chasing light, the magic of how the world is illuminated at moments in time when beauty is made manifest.”
Richard avoids the extreme manipulation of images that is easily achieved through the use of software. He does crop images and modify tonal, values but he wants the result to reflect what he saw and felt at the time he took the picture. “I don’t want to fabricate art,” he says. “I really want an image that reminds me of what it was like to be there.” Extreme manipulation of color and form is fine for a painter but feels dishonest to Richard as a photographer.
Ralph Singer grew up on the East Coast, but like many artists from the urban East before him, he found his inspiration in the Western landscape. He is adept at creating a sense of depth. These photographs all deal with architectural spaces and a certain mystery in the way this space is presented. In A CELLAR IN VERSAILLES, the light coming from the rear of the room draws you into the image, creating a feeling of suspense and anticipation at what might lie at the end of the corridor. INTO THE FOG has a similar feeling… the viewer is invited to imagine what lies beyond the end of the footbridge.
The boundary between interior and exterior in JOSHUA SHACK (title image, above) is tenuous. Light bleeds through the glassless windowpanes… the decaying man-made structure seems not distinct from the landscape but rather a part of it. These visual mysteries and paradoxes belong to the discussion of aesthetics that Paul Weidlinger writes about in his theory of architecture (see The Joy of Space).
In contrast, the MICHEL AND HIS MUSE I and II can be seen as a post-modernist sendup of classical forms. Bernard Maybeck’s Palace of Fine Arts, built for San Francisco’s 1914 World Exposition, is the epitome of what modernists like Le Corbusier rejected (see London 1934 — The Isokon Building). The juxtaposition of a late 20th-century male nude worshipping the stone goddess of Maybeck’s façade invites multiple interpretations, not all of them reverent.
LIVE ON JANUARY 16TH
RICHARD STANGL CALIFORNIA LANDSCAPES — Reward Level: $350
Choose one of seven images for a 16” x 20” archival print made on an Epson Professional Printer using pigment-based inks. Printed on Epson Ultra Premium Luster Photo Paper. International shipping: Add $25. DONATE and claim one as your reward.
RALPH SINGER PHOTOGRAPHS — Reward Level: $400
Choose one of five archival inkjet prints, matted and framed by the photographer. International shipping: Add $50. DONATE and claim one as your reward (only five available). Notify firstname.lastname@example.org to specify your image choice immediately after pledging.