Dot Attraction

In the film era, almost every photographer learned the craft by having their negatives enlarged to prints. That tangible photograph was the end product. The print’s pinnacle was to be framed behind glass and hung in a place where it could be revered.

When I started at age 14, I only wanted to see my work in print. That meant that the photographic print was an intermediate step before all the nuance and detail was removed so that it could be printed in my local newspaper.

My silver halide print, created in the newspaper’s darkroom, was reduced to coarse dots on paper. In this case, newsprint. Today’s art and tomorrow’s fish wrap.

Knowing that my work would be turned into micro smudges on a letterpress informed how I shot everything. For better or for worse, that is still in my muscle memory today.

This portrait from Manhattan Beach reminded me of those early days. There was something about the pattern of dots that was comforting and familiar.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.

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