"Theres no trick to taking a photograph in my world," says photographer Woody Ford". "I look at the light." Ford, who lives in New Haven, Connecticut, says his fascination with light began when he was a child. To pursue it, his father gave him a Rolliflex camera with a flip-up top before he had even received his drivers license.
He stopped taking photographs when he was a student at Hamden, Connecticuts Paier College of Art, where he studied painting, but realizing that the camera was "quicker for me," returned to photography several years after his graduation.
From taking photographs alongside the AP wire photographers who covered Bobby Seales tumultuous visit to New Haven in the late 1960s through his portrayals of the series of jazz musicians-- Dizzie Gillespie, Leroy "Slam" Stewart and Duke Ellington --performing at Yale University in the 1970s, Ford has hewn a style that is spare in manner but rich in expressive content. His interior of the Yale Music Library has appeared in the publication Building, Design and Construction, and he has received a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York. Among the giants of modernist photography, he reserves his highest regard for Imogen Cunningham, who emphasized the details in her work through the interplays between shadows and light, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, whom Ford likes for his capacity to "blend in with the moment."
What Ford terms "being there but not being there" is a reference to the anonymity that Cartier-Bresson cherished, capturing the "decisive moment," the instant in which a subject reveals its expressive content through a strict organization of visually perceived forms. Fords "Red Cap," taken in Portugal in 1982, has the impersonal quality seen in Dutch genre paintings, in which its highlights reflect the studied calm.
Today, the New Haven resident continues to view himself as a street photographer. "I literally roam the area," Ford says," If its a low-light day, I like to get on the action of the nice, long shadows--the deep, deep long shadows-- and the rich color. . . . I get excited about looking at process, something thats rusting away out there. If the light looks good, I can wait for someone to walk into it or walk by it or walk through it."
the York Square Gallery