Verdad Magazine Volume 20
Fall 2016, Volume 21
Photos by William C. Crawford
IMG_1 – Big Left Turn With Snow Clouds Lurking. Goldfield, Nevada.
IMG_2 – Steep Side Street, Dying Mining Town.
IMG_3 – Euclid Avenue Wreck. Historic Preservation, Desert Style.
IMG_4 – Dirt Street Slop. Mining Town After An Early Morning Dump.
IMG_5 – Broken Glass Fragments. Deep Desert Homesite.
IMG_6 – View from A Wrecked Service Station Window. Reno Highway.
IMG_7 – Tesla Lineup. Death Valley Recharge.
IMG_8 – Struggling Desert Ranch In A Snow Squall. Lida, Nevada.
IMG_9 – Open Sky Flea Market, Beatty, Nevada.
IMG_10 – Outlying Steeple. Tiny Nevada Church.
IMG_11 – Desert Junk Yard--Or An Open Air Museum?
IMG_12 – Relocated Beauty Salon Offering Up A Free Smile.
IMG_13 – Well Coiled Red Hose. Lida, Nevada.
(excerpt from William Crawford's article about the forensic foraging photography technique)
The trite, trivial and mundane are often dismissed by today’s technology driven photographers. Images shot in situ can unlock the beauty and intrinsic value hidden in most everyday things. Thus, an old fractured glass window found on a wrecked desert shack might better be presented as a compelling image.
Such a transformational presentation can be achieved by applying basic photographic techniques: framing, lighting, coloration, saturation, contrast, etc. This precise application of seminal tenets can often transform the mundane into a pleasing lump of eye candy. This process forms the essence of Forensic Foraging.
Photographers today possess a plethora of powerful technical tools. High resolution sensors, potent post processing software, and cameras with such jacked up processors that they could, in a pinch, support the governmental operations of a small city. Many camera images today all but surpass the human capacities of the brain and eye to fully appreciate their miraculous clarity and resolution.
Photographs now often look far better than the real thing. Some forward thinking literary journals frequently publishing digital images are formally distinguishing between heavily embellished computer images and more traditional photographs in their submission guidelines. In a word, this is because photography, in some of its contemporary applications, may have both lost touch with and even surpassed reality.
We don’t denigrate the vast vibrant sea of present day images. However, we do strongly embrace the plodding, minimalist techniques that made our medium a success in the first place. Rather than advancing the now routinely spectacular work produced by powerful technology, we prefer to shoot everyday images relying on carefully crafted seminal techniques.
Forensic photography evolved to record and to help analyze crime scene evidence. Forensic Foraging borrows from these precise sifting techniques. We ply the world of the trite, trivial, and mundane in a plodding, systematic fashion. We record everything encountered in a structured series of images. Then, upon careful review, some of these photos are publicly presented in our specialized format.
Sometimes this process yields striking images by mere coincidence. More often, mundane shots are elevated to reveal a bit of beauty and hidden substance found in many everyday things. Our aim is to tease out unseen value which then spurs the viewer to consider our image in an expanded fashion. We don’t consider this process to be creating art. Indeed, we think of ourselves not as artists but rather as itinerate shooters with a distinct, discerning eye for the world around us.
About the Artist:
William C. Crawford is a writer & photographer based in Winston-Salem, NC. He was a combat photojournalist in Vietnam. He later enjoyed a long career in social work, and also taught at UNC Chapel Hill. He photographs the trite, trivial, and the mundane. Crawford developed the forensic foraging technique of photography with his colleague, Sydney lensman, Jim Provencher.