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Saturday, September 14, 2013

" From Their View " 2...George L.Smyth, Peter Gorwin, Jim Barnard

The second in our series open for discussion:

At one time Braddock was a city of over 20,000 people, but the collapse of the steel industry and infusion of crack cocaine reduced it to a little over 2,000 inhabitants. However, this is not a place that has given up. A strong mayor and the determination of the people are starting to pay off, though there is a very long road ahead.

The Braddock Project - Part 1 is the beginning of a project where I will visit the city twice a year over the next decade to document the resurgence. This is a baseline that will tell us where it has been. Indeed, a number of these places no longer exist, as the city works its way back.

These images are scans of prints created through the Bromoil process, a labor intensive, time consuming procedure where the silver is removed from a traditionally created darkroom print and replaced with lithographic ink by striking its surface with a stiff, ink charged brush. It adds an ethereal atmosphere to the scene, allowing the viewer to enter and understand the image on their own.

For more images from this project visit
HandMade Photographic Images:
The Dividend Reinvestment Resource Center:
Blog: GLSmyth.wordpress.comct please visit

a) The Birdbath in My Garden:
Photographed with a medium format 4x5, wide angle pinhole camera.
I took it using b&w film. I've printed it using a hybrid process, a Pictorico OHP
transparency generated from an Epson 2200 internegative, and then a Van Dyke.
The negative has also been scanned, and digitally printed using fine art paper.
It was captured several years ago while my wife and I lived in Southern California.
No need to explain anything about it further.

b) Cat and Her Shadow, Istanbul, Turkey 2007:
Captured with a Nikon D2X while on a trip to Istanbul in 2007 using a good
14 mm Nikkor 2.8 lens. The lens accentuated the the s-curve of the feral cat and her discovered shadow
while she was cradled in the the arc of the cobblestones. (I assume it was a "she," but I have
no way of knowing.)

It was shot in RAW color and brought to b&w through manipulation of the channels.
I then digitally sepia toned it. As usual for me, it would be printed on flat, natural rag.

I sometimes photograph animals when they reveal a certain intelligence, a certain awareness in the moment that I'm fortunate enough to capture.  Animals, however, are not a subject that I gravitate to often, just when I see what I just described. I'm very interested in saying things simply with my photos, but I hope what I aim to say with an image isn't that simple.

The work and pleasure of my photography is discovering some particular beauty of a person, place or object, and then showing that beauty in play with the wondrous and sensual qualities of light.

In these portraits I used only natural light (and a white card) to illuminate the natural beauty of my subjects.

To see more of my work,


  1. Greetings for everybody authors,it is difficult to talk about one from them,because they are great;)

  2. Some research has been done that measured the average time people visiting a photography exhibit spent with each photograph. It was a rather shockingly brief two seconds. So, beyond a graphically strong image, something else needs to be present to enhance the viewer's involvement. I think George Smyth's bromoils may have that interesting texture and a simulacrum of a pencil drawing. Nicely done.

    Peter Gorwin's 'birdbath' is a clearly centered subject with burned in periphery that isolates it nicely, but it's not a very interesting subject. In the context of a series of garden images, it is perhaps more at home.

    The cat is, likewise, not very interesting in its own right, but in a rhythmic composition with the cobbles, serves successfully as a central element.

    Jim Barnard's portraits achieve what he intended them to by virtue of beautiful lighting.

  3. George, sounds like a wonderful project. I'm looking forward to seeing how Braddock progresses. Also, I'd be interested in seeing some environmental portraits of the people involved in the city's revitalization.

  4. George: This Bromoil process, mysterious and intriguing, as John points out, adds extra interest to your understated documentary photos. I respect the restraint and simplicity with which you approach your work.
    Whether the choice of a particular subject rises above the mundane is often punctuated by whether the photographer invested something personal in capturing both subject and the moment. Such inexplicable essences often transcend technique, but are often made more interesting through process.


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