Rita Henry


     

People and sweet dreams.  These photographic themes come from a perfect storm of events: deaths, births, weddings and reunions.   Portraits now are necessary and miraculous.  The events encourage symbolic images as you find in dreams.

My dreams aren’t always sweet, but to apply a dream to paper is so my images are inconsistent.  Some are large in sharp focus with high contrast blacks and whites.  Others are small, soft and gray.  They range from landscapes to nudes and include contact negatives, as well as hand tinted and toned prints.  The images are distorted from sandwiched film or isolated, enlarged fragments.  They stick in my mind’s grooves.

Staring, unblinking, averting eyes, shifting expressions, blurred or clear, my camera records the instance.  The portraits are processed on 35mm film or contact printed using a salvaged 80-year-old view camera. Striving for the natural and unposed, the exposures are as much as 40 seconds and trace the person’s physical patience.  In bold or low light, beneath hats or wigs, holding mirrors or newspapers, each person emerges on silver gelatin paper under a darkroom safelight.  None of the photographs are altered for enhancement or correction.  If the camera lenses are damaged, you see it in the final print.  If there is a facial blemish, it is there permanently on paper.  To me, the faces are perfect.

Thanks goes to David Vogt, Megan Bohn, Andrea Baxter, my parents, students, models and Trey Johnson for donations of materials, time and support.

Rita Henry

 

Born in Dermott, Arkansas.  Graduated from Hendrix College.  Began in 1989 pursuing photography as an art form with emphasis on silver gelatin (black and white) prints. My art career includes lab work in a professional photographic house; twelve years of teaching fine art photography, assisting Little Rock based commercial photographers and historic photography curator. 

At present, my fine art photography instruction includes the Blue-Eyed Knocker Photo Club and the Little Rock School District after school programs.  A side project continues long-term documentation of a Texas musician and his twenty years of creating music.