I know Carolyn Marks Blackwood mostly from her posts on Facebook (and vice versa). She’s a photographer, a film and TV producer and somewhat political too (especially the last two years, like many of us) and we seem to come up on each other’s feeds a lot. We have a few friends in common and we both live in upstate New York. I see her work constantly and it ranges from abstractions, like ice breaking up on the Hudson River to specific subjects that reference nature around her. Her new series is a bit different. They are all large-scale (although, I confess I’ve never seen any in person…)
Her new book and exhibition The Story Series s comprised of 67 images and one line “stories”. 15 of those just got a permanent home in a museum in Toledo, Spain and another exhibit in opens on January 13, 2018 at the Von Lintel Gallery in Los Angeles.
Here’s an excerpt from the book, an interview by the famed art critic, Barbara Rose.
BARBARA ROSE: How did you get the idea for The Story Series?
CAROLYN MARKS BLACKWOOD: My husband Greg and I were driving back to the country from New York City late one night, and it was snowing, but not sticking to the roads. I was fascinated by the visual effect of the snow hitting the headlights and whipping the wind- shield. So when we got home, I asked Greg if he would drive me around with my camera. I wasn’t really sure of what I was doing or getting, but it felt exciting and right. It was about one in the morning by the time I finished shooting, but I wanted to see what I had gotten right away. It was thrilling to see that the snow had become a frame-to-frame pattern, which is something that attracts me. It became almost an abstraction. That was how it all began. Then I started going out at night, especially during storms, to see what I could get using only the available light. The atmosphere and the light in some of the photographs evoked so many feelings. They were strange and touched me.
BR: When did you add the text to the photographs?
CMB: I posted a few on Facebook, and added a line of story with them just to see what would happen. The response was amazing! People started to add to the story, to take what I had given them, and make the story their own. Hundreds of people got involved. Then I realized the power of putting up an evocative photograph, with the beginning of a story. Jerry Saltz, the art critic of New York magazine, added one of the stories. He was one of those people who immediately championed them. The process was very spontaneous. It made me realize how powerful a ‘story series’ could be.