Words on Photographs

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In 1974 I put up a few images in a Buffalo coffee house and called the collection Regressions. Mike Brill made a wonderful poster and I invited friends to present themselves in a regression mode. I did some quick and dirty nightclub style photos and they are included now in the family section as images scanned from the original negatives. Delightfully quirky then and now. For anyone who missed the book: Janet’s homemade dress is a regression equation.

For a party in 1972 Mike showed up in a gladiator outfit he made himself, and I threw together a mock grecian tunic. Together we were ready to start a new department of classic studies, and decided to make a poster in celebration. The result was world famous, in a small world sort of way.

I am not sure what year in the early ‘70s my nephew Andy had his bar mitzvah, but I attended in Philadelphia and took a few snapshots. His parents were divorced and there was no photo of him with both parents. So when I scanned the negatives I took a shot of his father and put it in with a frame of him with his mother and brothers. Just another way of creating a bullshit family.

Throughout the ‘70s I visited Merida, Yucatan, Mexico and stayed at a delightful local hotel, usually in the same room. I have included a couple of images of hanging around the interior courtyard, a feature that accounted for most of the hotel’s charm. Once I stayed for a month, taking a few hours each morning to write out longhand an essay on the Milgram experiments. It was a dangerously romantic experience.

In addition to a few restored images of friends from the distant past, I added an image of myself with Helen Schlect, a Resurrection House volunteer with whom I worked for about twelve years, here at table during a visit in 2007 after she retired.

New Bottles

I have taken some favorite images from the past and used them to learn a little, very little, about photoshop. Without an a priori concept, what emerges is an issue that has always been around and is inherent in still photography: if the whole story must be told in one frame, then a really good photograph says everything in one frame. But cinema was always enticing, and the sequences from the 1970’s were an exploration of multiple single frames each worthy on its own but adding up to something as a group. In this sense these old frames newly combined are a higher tech rerun. But rather than a narrative, I have taken the opportunity to say something about my experience of the subject’s character, or at least my memory of the time. Along similar lines, a few SLIDESHOWS have reclustered a set of images in this medium somewhere between still and moving.

New Wine

Color and digital: two new worlds for me, and an opportunity to rediscover the fun of photography. As an early teener I just about destroyed to fun of it for myself with all the anxiety about errors and all the work in developing and printing with primitive equipment that was yet to be mastered. In this new technical milieu, and at the other end of life, almost all the fun returns with very little of the burden. Add the benefit of forty years experience and the results should be superb.

Tubbs the cat passed on in February 2008 after about 21 years of wonderful life. Shortly before she died a little squirt of a kitten showed up hungry and frightened. He stayed on as though the whole thing was planned. Bob Ardren also passed on around the same time. When this informal portrait was done in our coffee house we all knew it was possible and prayed it was not likely. Bob VanWagoner and George Earl Fox are still around and a delightful part of neighborhood life. George had taken a photograph of Palm Ave. in the 1920s and wanted a modern version, hence the image included in this addition. Thea Lobo was looking for a portrait update to match the inevitable progression of her career. This set we did at a sidewalk table in downtown Sarasota; the first of our sessions in digital.

Notice, in the portraits, fewer nudes and more older people. So it goes.

Alex Karotis



All Images © Alex Karotis. All rights reserved.

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