Friday, March 06, 2009

George Tice - New Jersey Photographer

Today, I went to the University of Oregon's Museum of Art. Admission is free on the first Friday of the month, so I took advantage. I haven't been there in quite a while, and I'm glad I went.

The exhibit I enjoyed the most was a collection of photographs by New Jersey artist George Tice. Mr. Tice photographed various locations in the city of Paterson, New Jersey, and those photos are now exhibited at the University of Oregon.

I really enjoyed his urban photography. They are all in black and white, and all made with an old-style 8"x10" format camera. What hit me the most was the real sense of place found in his work. There are waterfalls and trees, buildings, houses, businesses, streets, and even a swimming pool (perhaps my favorite photo of the exhibit). You see the city of Paterson in all its glory, misery and normalcy.

The architecture, in particular, really caught me. Perhaps the citizens of Paterson think their buildings are nothing special, and they do have a certain gritty quality to them, but such buildings simply do not exist where I live. I especially enjoyed one house that was crammed into a wedge of land near a rail yard.

In addition to the Paterson photos, there were some photos in Tice's "Main Street" series. These really caught me, too. They are all photos of people walking down the street. No one smiles for the camera, poses, or even notices the photographer. They're going about their business, whatever business that might be. These photos are truly snapshots in the lives of the subjects. I enjoyed imagining what kind of day each person was having, or where they were going. What happened to them to give them their expressions as they walked down the sidewalk? Very intriguing stuff.

The Museum's store has copies of Tice's "Paterson II" book, but they are quite expensive. I found cheaper copies on, so I'm getting it there. I didn't check, but it looked as if most of the photos in the exhibit are also in the book.

You can find a biography of George Tice here, and read an interview with him here.

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