Monday, October 31, 2016

Anthony Hernandez @ SFMOMA

Photo: Anthony Hernandez

I wasn't even familiar with his name until this century, this American master who has been quietly going about his business on the West Coast for decades. I was also particularly intrigued because he was Hispanic, and there ain't too many photographers of his background and stature- world renowned or otherwise!

As I've noticed with many a master, Anthony Hernandez has been getting more and more minimal in his latter work, which is now in color. And as with Paul Graham, my main interest lies in his earlier work.

Photo: Anthony Hernandez

He got his chops as a street photographer, shooting with the standard 35mm uniform, but took it a step further and started using 5X7. Huh? Yeah, fancy that- a large format street photographer!

And it's those photographs that captivate my imagination most since they are so similar to small format street photography, yet different all the same. How could they not? There is none of the action, none of the immediacy, none of the serendipity or in your face confrontation so common in so much of that genre. There's plenty of visual dynamics to be sure, simplistic compositions they're not, but at a very different rate of speed. And it's not just the large format camera that slows things down. Often, people are not rushing about using the street as a means of transportation in Los Angeles, but as a place of respite... between travel. The photos are more contemplative, and the latter landscapes somewhat parallel the work of Shore and Sternfeld, sans color.

Photo: Anthony Hernandez

Mr. Hernandez is currently enjoying a retrospective at SFMOMA, and there's a book to go with it. I'm dying to see the exhibit, but I'm not crazy about spending $25 to do so- that's both a political and practical decision when you make $15 and change an hour. In 2008, SFMOMA received a $10,000,000 grant from AT&T to have free admission First Tuesdays of the month for... perpetuity. Perpetuity lasted... five years. Approx 60 free days cost... $10,000,000!

SFMOMA currently has some free "Family Days," that still doesn't do much for people working for minimum and slightly higher (like moi) who don't have children- why not have a few goddamn hours a month where you can just... donate what you can?

Photo: Anthony Hernandez

1 comment:

  1. Someone posted a comment asking if they could actually pay for my entry fee and/or the Hernandez book. I was bowled over by the magnanimity of their offer. I did not publish the comment since it included their email, but I thought I would publicly thank and share my reply to DM...

    Hi- I just wanted to thank you for your very kind and generous offer. Really- I'm forever grateful. The kindness of "strangers" is one I take seriously. I could just put the cost of the ticket or book on my AMEX card- it's already up to 5 figures, just a coupla bucks more at this point...

    True, I'd hate to think what life would be like if my wife and I didn't split expenses in this town- but as long as we got each other! Fortunately, we can still very much afford the necessities of life, and everyday we see people here who have it far, far (far) worse than us. And that's what pisses me off- a place of such riches, yet so many people are literally stumbling about here in a twilight of bare existence. It's just disgusting that we have a "world class" art museum and people who have to slave for a living would have to pay over two hours work just to gain entry- as if they don't need that money for a myriad of other things. The show's up till January, maybe I'll treat myself for Christmas- and it certainly won't kill me if I don't. This wanton greed just ticks me off.

    Fortunately, kindness like yours restores my faith...