Sometime during the fall of 2007, Jerome Meadows, a sculptor living and working in Savannah, noticed something as he drove through the east side neighborhood where his studio is located. He saw a father holding his small child.
He envisioned an exhibit of photography; portraits of black men and their children that were emotive and powerful. He wanted the photographs to be recorded on film and printed using traditional processes in the small darkroom that was a part of his studio. The images would be exhibited in Indigo Sky Gallery, a gallery located adjacent to his studio.
Jerome approached one of the members of PURE to discuss the project and asked her to be the sole photographer for the selected fathers and children. (Please see yesterday’s post to learn about PURE.) However, as the project grew and evolved, it became clear that photographing 18 fathers, their children and potentially their grandchildren in the time allotted was a daunting task for one person. Eventually, the corps of photographers swelled to five volunteers and shooting began.
Seemingly endless meetings for image editing and print selection followed and the show eventually came together, debuting at Indigo Sky Gallery in April of 2008. It was shown again for a special Father’s Day celebration at a local church, also in 2008.
For my part in the project, I was asked to coordinate with three of the other photographers and spend a Saturday shooting in an impromptu set built in the truck sized doorway of Jerome’s sculpture studio. The images were produced against a simple white seamless background in natural light. The “studio” was in constant shade throughout the day and the light meter never wavered. It was wonderful. We couldn’t have asked for better shooting conditions.
In the end, much of the project could not be produced using Jerome’s darkroom. I shot all of my images on film in an attempt to remain true to the concept, but was forced by time and other considerations to produce the prints digitally as were the other photographers. It’s no matter; good work was created and I’m not complaining.