An American Classic

An American Classic is my new book of photographs of Aeolian-Skinner organs designed by the late Roy Perry.

Roy Perry’s life is one of those classic American stories. Born poor to a widowed mother, self-taught, and a genius at what he did. What he did, in addition to being a highly respected church musician, was the on site tonal finishing of pipe organs.

Perry was the Organist and Choirmaster of First Presbyterian Church in Kilgore, Texas from 1932 to 1972. The annual East Texas Pipe Organ Festival was established in 2011 to honor his life and work. Were it not for the festival, Perry’s name might be simply a footnote among students and enthusiasts of Aeolian-Skinner history and pipe organ folklore.

The project of photographing these historically significant musical instruments was undertaken for the archives of the festival. An American Classic presents selected images of ten of these organs. The photographs were made over a period of about a year from mid 2014 to mid 2015. The intent of the photographs was not just to document the organs in their present condition, but also to show the sculptural beauty of the instruments, particularly the pipework.

An American Classic is available in paperback, or a deluxe hardbound edition; and may be ordered at blurb.com.

LINK to order book

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Film review: From Darkroom to Daylight

On the evening of October 1, I visited the Dallas Center for Photography to attend a screening of Harvey Wang’s film: From Darkroom to Daylight.

From Darkroom to Daylight explores the dramatic change from film to digital and how it has affected photographers and their work. Wang interviewed photographers and prominent figures in the field, including Jerome Liebling, George Tice, Elliott Erwitt, David Goldblatt, Sally Mann, Gregory Crewdson, Susan Meiselas and Eugene Richards, as well as innovators Steven Sasson, who built the first digital camera while at Kodak, and Thomas Knoll, who, along with his brother, created Photoshop.

The film is an homage to film and the darkroom, although with acknowledgement that the era is largely over, at least for professionals. The film is informative, and may be uplifting or depressing depending upon your viewpoint. Clearly digital is the mainstream medium now. The interviews focus on how the transition affected the people interviewed, whether for good or ill, or not at all.

Some of the photographers were nostalgic, some resigned, some enthused, and at least one seemed as if he couldn’t believe he had ever been able to create anything without Photoshop™. It is (as always) a mixed bag, and very subjective.

I recommend the film if you get a chance to see it. Apparently, it is only available in screenings such as the one I attended (with 55 other people). Other than the trailer, it is not on the web, and is not available for download or on dvd.

There is a companion book, which is for sale.

Website link

Video trailer

The book

The screening was sponsored by The Dallas Center for Photography and the Texas Photographic Society.

Dallas Center for Photography

Texas Photographic Society