Dave Heath at Amon Carter

I visited the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth over the weekend to catch the Laura Wilson exhibition before it closed, and while there, I stumbled into the little alcove upstairs where they keep a rotating stock of original prints—last time I was there, they had a multiple versions of Stieglitz’s “the Horse Car Terminal” in various stages of cropping, dodging & burning—and I immediately recognized a couple of prints from Dave Heath, whose retrospective book I picked up and flipped through briefly a couple of months ago, and that I’ve been trying to read through over the past week or so.*

I don’t know how long they’ll be up, but the actual, in person, prints are spectacular. If you find yourself in Funky Town, pay the Amon Carter a visit. It’s known for its commitment to American photography, and it almost always has some great photography on display, in addition to all the Remington and Russell you could ever want to see in one place, and it’s free…

These quick shots from the iPhone don’t do the prints justice, at all, especially since reflections of the phone and I partially distort the a couple of them. I think the prints themselves are roughly the same size as their reproductions in the book, but there is far more detail and depth in the actual prints than what’s found in the book. I’m not really sure why that is, and maybe it was just their presence in the museum, combined with my recent reading of the (very celebratory, almost sycophantic) biography in the big Dave Heath book. Maybe they’re the same, or maybe there’s not much discrepancy between the print in a frame in the museum and the reproduction in a large, fancy photography book.

Anyway, go and visit! There’s currently a small exhibition of recent photography acquisitions. A show of Louise Nevelson’s prints goes up on February 20, and one of photographs of abandoned buildings in the desert near Los Angles by Anthony Hernandez opens on March 3, and maybe both will be worth a look. There’s also a big exhibition of nearly 100 works by Thomas Hart Benton, along with scenes from movies that inspired him or that he worked with… I’m not sure which, really. (I’m not very well-versed or interested in Hart Benton, so…)

Anyway, it was good to see those Heath prints in person, and really good to get into a museum again. I don’t go often enough.

*Reading the bio has given me a bit more insight into Mr. Heath’s project(s) over the years, and I’m less critical of his use of telephoto lenses than I was at first glance. We are all on alone on this journey through life, our internal struggles are our own and it’s up to us how we worship Allah and how we face the tests and gifts that He blesses us with. Some of Heath’s pictures really capture this internal world in ways that most wide-angle street photography doesn’t. As mentioned in my brief review of the book, it’s one that I’ll keep returning to for inspiration, I think.

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