Saturday, July 22, 2006

Interview with Steve Harper

Last year I finished the first revision on a short documentary film on night photography. The Night of the Living Photographers included spotlight segments on five nocturnal-types: Troy Paiva, Lance Keimig, Larrie Thompson, Howie Spielman and Tom Paiva.

Two weeks ago, Tim Baskerville arranged for me to meet once again with Steve Harper and interview him for the next version of the film. Steve Harper is now retired from teaching and, unfortunately, retired from photography for health reasons. So it was an honor to have the opportunity to meet with him again.

(Left to right: myself, Tim Baskerville, Steve Harper)

We recorded almost two hours of great material (which I'll be slogging through for at least a month) sitting on beautiful plantation-style furniture on the front deck of the former commander's house at Mare Island.

Steve was probably the only college-level teacher of night photography back in the 1970's and 80's when half of the battle involved figuring out which films and developers could handle the long exposures required for night photography. Not only was Steve a good friend of night photography master Michael Kenna, but I learned that in his younger days Steve worked in New York with Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon. For you digital youngin's who have never stuck your fingers in a bath of developer, it was great to hear Steve's excitement about how the digital revolution is making it so much easier for photographers to get acquainted with night photography.

It will be a few months before I'm ready to release the next version of the film which will include Steve's material. You'll hear about it first, here on the GSNP Blog.


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