In April, member photographer, Frank Francis shares his private view of Southeast Asia through a series of story telling images, which are both emotionally compelling and stunning in composition. His process includes seeking out remote places, which provide access to people who are not so much a part of our modern digital world, who therefore tend to react differently to the camera. He finds capturing the right moment easier when people have been minimally exposed to other photographers.
Frank Francis says, “My goal is to seek lives within lives, the undertones, the fragments of lives bathed in mystery—an exceedingly difficult task. Another goal is to combine light, composition and moment to tell a story with truth and some drama in it. The long trips on waterways in Assam, Bangladesh, and Myanmar have allowed a silent platform to witness the unchanged rhythms of lives where daily tasks can take on memorable beauty enhanced by the water and the sky. Another goal has been to photograph the intensity and beauty of spiritual life often amplified by transcendence and symbolism.”
“It is said that until a poet finds his music she or he is just writing words, not poetry, and that poetry is at the heart of all art. I have been striving for a long time to find my music and very infrequently I hear a distant melody—it comes and goes, mostly goes. When I am asked ‘are you a photographer?’ it reminds me of something the poet W.H. Auden said when asked ‘are you a Christian? He replied, “No, I am not, but I am trying to be.”
Frank Francis was born in Utah, moved to San Francisco to attend the University of San Francisco Law School. Married in 1958 to the then Frances Seppi, they lived in the City until after graduation and then moved to Nevada County where they have made their home up to the present. Frank practiced law until 1997 when he was appointed to the Superior Court in Nevada County. He retired in 1997.
During the early years on the Bench, Francis’ photography centered on the Sacramento Valley and foothills. As time went by his interests expanded to foreign themes, which intensified after retirement in 1997. The camera and an urge for adventure has taken him to very remote corners of the earth, including Mongolia, the Middle East, and multiple trips to Africa, Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar. The mode of travel has been, most often, by small boat, jeep, or on foot. Except for a guide, driver, or boat crew, the trips have been solo in order to concentrate on photography.
Francis’ work has been shown over the years in numerous galleries and other venues in Northern California.
Network, © Frank Francis
Peppers Drying, © Frank Francis
Reflection, © Frank Francis