Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Meeting Frank "Tico" Herrara

Last night, I had the good fortune to meet master black and white photographer and printer, Frank "Tico" Herrara. I had shown up way early for the hanging of my images for the exhibit "Coffee and Critique: Exposed" at Glen Echo Park in Maryland. More on that below.
Happy to at least find the building open on this cold, windy night, I had to wait for a long while in the dark lobby, until someone showed up and unlocked the gallery and darkroom space where Coffee and Critique is held. Along comes this gentleman, who happens to have a key, and is willing to let me follow him in. When he asks why I'm there, I tell him I'm there for a hanging. He says "Oh, good. I haven't been to a good hanging in so long. I thought they were outlawed nowadays." or something to that effect.
Anyway, it turned out that this was none other than Frank "Tico" Herrara, the most senior staff member at Glen Echo Photoworks, winner of a Guggenheim fellowship, and excellent photographer and printer. We sat and chatted for about an hour, which gave me the opportunity to learn about his Guggenheim project, "The West Virginia Crosses," among other things.
In this project, Tico used the Guggenheim fellowship to "document clusters of Roman crosses that were being erected all over West Virginia by a millionaire businessman as part of a religious mission called "Cast Thy Bread.""

After we'd talked for a while, I screwed up enough courage to ask Tico for input on the pictures I'd come to hang, those of my meditation practice, shot with large format film and old cameras, including a pinhole. I posted a slideshow of those images previously. (Click Here) to see that post.
I was pleased to hear that Tico sort of "got it," meaning the idea of what I was trying to communicate with the images. He said they definitely communicated a meditative message. That was really nice to hear.
So, all in all, I'm glad that I arrived so early to the exhibition hanging. My reward was to meet and spend some time with a real photographic master, one on one. Tico is a really nice guy, and I hope to get the chance to meet up with him again.
If you're interested in seeing my exhibition, along with about fourteen of my colleagues that take part in the Coffee and Critique sessions at Glen Echo Park in Maryland, you can (Click Here) for the details. My work will be up until January 5, 2015.