Viewpoint Photographic Art Center is pleased to present Henry Paine’s photographic exhibit Vintage Lace Designs of the Early 20th Century in its Step Up Gallery in June.
In a departure from his usual photographic subjects, Henry Paine recently revived a project begun in the late 1970s when he was using a 4x5 view camera. “At that time,” Paine explains, “I had access to scores of delicately handcrafted lace and cutwork tablecloths and curtains at a specialty laundering facility owned and operated by my wife’s grandmother. Once the curtains or tablecloths were washed and starched, they would be placed on stretchers and held in place by tiny pins that surrounded the wooden frame.… When I saw the tablecloths and curtains, I knew I had to photograph them. I sometimes focused in on small segments of the designs, and other times I backed up and photographed the entire piece.”
This project resulted in almost 200 images on 4x5 film negatives. However, the nature of the images made them almost impossible to print successfully using darkroom methods, and the project remained uncompleted for over three decades. It wasn’t until Paine recently scanned the negatives and processed the images digitally that he could make prints that did justice to the subject matter. The 24 prints in this exhibit were made using pigment inks on an inkjet printer.
Influenced by Edward Weston, Brett Weston, and Ansel Adams, Henry Paine has been pursuing his passion for black-and-white photography for more than 40 years. For most of those years he worked exclusively with view cameras and made silver gelatin prints in his darkroom. In 2009 he started experimenting with a digital SLR camera and an Epson printer to see if he could produce prints that satisfied him as much as those he had been making with labor-intensive darkroom methods. Soon he felt that the digital prints were as good as, if not better than, his darkroom prints.
Using Ansel Adams’ Zone System, Paine seeks “to combine the values of fine art and photographic science to support my perception of the nuances of light, shape, texture, and form through pictorial design”. In order to make a living in a field related to photography, he started his own business as a camera technician. The “natural affinity between photography and repair work suited me perfectly,” he states, “and helped me grow more knowledgeable in each area.” He has photography workspace and a gallery at his business site, Henry Paine Camera Repair and Photography, in Stockton. His website is henrypaine.com.
Henry Paine, Tablecloth 5
Henry Paine, Tablecloth 8
Henry Paine, Tablecloth 22
Henry Paine, Tablecloth 35