Friday, October 12, 2007

Dick and Greg

San Francisco, 1983
copyright Richard Copley

For the past several decades, Minneapolis photographer, Richard Copley, has made trips from his home in Minneapolis to cities like Paris, Chicago, San Francisco and New York to shoot photographs on the streets with his Nikon 35mm camera. When he comes to New York, he stays at a hotel near Times Square, which is one of his favorite haunts for street shots. Now, thankfully, part of his New York ritual includes meeting me for a photo show and dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Chelsea. Richard, or Dick, as he calls himself, orders his food extra spicy and then asks the waitress for more hot sauce.

Dick and I met in the summer of 2004 when we had concurrent exhibitions thru The Minnesota Center of Photography which were re-routed to the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota. We took a break from hanging our shows and sat down for lunch at a cafe on the campus in order to get to know one another better. Dick made his living driving concrete and dump trucks for the city and is now happily retired. He is someone who never minces words, and at lunch, he began telling me how much he hates Republicans. Then he stopped himself and asked ... are you a Republican? I said I didn't think that many gay artists were Republicans, especially women.

During our dinner date last night, Dick caught me up on some news about photographers in Minneapolis and told me about his friendship with an early New York street photographer, Ted Croner, whose work I have shown to students in my night photography class at the ICP. We also commiserated over the difficulties of finding love, a favorite topic of mine with anyone who will listen.

Earlier in the evening, we stopped by the 511 Gallery to see the opening of Guise, a group show of new photography by three artists, including Greg Reynolds, whom I met in the color darkroom at the ICP. Greg is showing a series of color photographs he shot in Kentucky, where he was raised and was once a Christian evangelist. Greg combines sensual and romantic images of a dark and handsome young man named Bobby with moody and atmospheric images of the Kentucky landscape. His sense of light is lush and wonderful, and the images brought me back to the Southern writers whose stories I grew up reading, like Truman Capote and Carson McCullers.

I have included above one of Richard Copley's images of a couple making out in a parked car in San Francisco taken in 1983. To see more excellent voyeuristic flash-lit night shots, check out Kohei Yoshiyuki's exhibition, The Park, at Yossi Milo Gallery.

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