Keith Johnson Photographs


John Wood in Rochester

In an epic undertaking, Nathan Lyons, supported by George Eastman House, Memorial Art Gallery and Visual Studies Workshop assembled, sequenced and installed 230 pictures in three venues, covering 40 years of Wood’s imagemaking. There is a companion book, published by Steidl, that is a must have addition to my library.

When I walked in to the House (GEH) the front gallery held about 50 pictures and the feeling was eerie. First off, I remember so many of the pictures from the late 60s and early 70s, It felt like a history of  my photographic education. Much of the extended thinking was something I emulated in my early life as a photographer. John Wood represents that ever inquisitive midset of “what if I try this, what will happen?” There was a certain disregard to the purist viewpoint of that era led by Minor White, Paul Caponigro, et al and he investigated the boundaries of what picture making was, what should it look like and how one should even make pictures. Although he was mainly photography based, even that was not strict dogma.

I spent an hour today looking at the 130 some pictures at VSW and derived much energy from the work. The work wasn’t slathered in arty sauce, it was honest and organic and experimantal and full of energy and joy for the picture making process. How very cool.

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