591 Exhibition: Of This Place: Photographs from North Carolina - David Simonton


Write about the land beneath your feet. —Eudora Welty

North Carolina has been my home and my subject since I moved to Raleigh from New Jersey in 1989. Ever since then I have traveled throughout the state making pictures.

In 2008, North Carolina was the third-fastest-growing state in the United States and the fastest-growing state east of the Mississippi River. The state finds itself at a turning point, losing its distinct characteristics to cookie-cutter franchise. As witness to an inevitable transition, I photograph to remember, not to romanticize.

Forty years after beginning, I continue to work in the tradition of straight photography, a tradition that embraces process and the unity of vision and craft. I am a black-and-white-film photographer. I use manual cameras with standard lenses. And I process film and make gelatin silver prints in my darkroom.

I learned about photography in three related ways: By photographing, of course. By looking at photographs and by listening closely to what others said about the medium—about the power of a photograph to make and leave an impression, about the dual (and often dueling) nature of the photograph itself. Is it a work of art? Is it a document? Dorothea Lange said that for a photograph to work both elements need to be present.

While I readily acknowledge the documentary aspect of my work, I am compelled to photograph by the visual aspects of a scene—geometry, beauty (especially when perceived in the un-beautiful) and the transforming power of light. Twenty-two years after arriving in the South, I continue to make pictures as an homage to home and to reflect my experience of this place.

- David Simonton

ABOUT the photographer
David Simonton
Born: 1953
Lives in: Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Inspiration (photographers): Ray K. Metzker, Lee Friedlander, Sylvia Plachy, Len Jenshel and many, many others.
Inspiration (other): Complex Geometry + Lovely Light
Film, digital or both: Film, Forever
Quote:  When one takes a photograph, one doesn't think about making a statement, but rather about creating something visual which can later bear a meaning.  The meaning of the photograph depends upon the viewer's interpretation, but not necessarily the photographer's. - Manuel Álvarez Bravo  
Website: http://www.davidsimonton.com

David Simonton's North Carolina series is photography at its best. - Mr Urbano


br said…
great work!!!
Rhonda Boocock said…
Documentary photographs with soul! Excellent series!
Markus Jenemark said…
Yes! Excellent work!!
Dan Berntsson said…
extremly good picture
love the cityshapes!
Susanne said…
Amazing photos! Love it!
Alma Sanbern said…
Oh the silvery light. Such beauty!
Valeria said…
Enchanted places!!! Cool pics :)