Fine Art Photography
Black and White Images
Copyright ©1968-2002 by Dick Pierce
All Rights Reserved
The first image is one of my earliest photographs, taken in early November of 1968. I had just acquired a new twin-lens reflex camera, and was out on a cold, grey day wandering about the town cemetery in Hanover, Massachusetts when I came upon this image. I was immediately struck by the almost menacing juxtaposition of the trailing tree branches and the old, weathered headstones, but there was this sense that the image just wasn't right. It wasn't until months later that the problem and its solution became obvious: flipping the negative over so the tree was on the left completed the image. Many years later I went back to the scene: the headstones are still there, just as weathered, but that magnificent tree, sadly, is long gone.
Yashicamat 124, no filtration, Tri-X developed normally in D-76.
Leap forward to the next millenium for this picture, taken along the dunes on Duxbury Beach. I had often passed this little beach house and never found it of much interest until this early September morning, just after a cold front had passed through, leaving the air crystal clear, with the sky a deep blue to the horizon. The clouds you see where quite real. A deep red filter was needed to allow the photograph to evoke the same sense of boldness that I felt looking at the scene.
Nikon F2 with Nikkor 35mm PC lens unshifted, Ilford XP-2 Super film.
That same morning, I drove about a mile north into the Green Harbor section of Marshfield. I found a gap between the beach houses and the seawall and found this image. The same deep blue sky with the clouds to the north in the previous image was just as deep but was almost completely devoid of clouds to the south. The stark contrasts with the low lighting and the realtively low fill light from the reflected cloudlight made this image almost reminiscent of ramparts remaining from some mechanised battle of long ago. However, the only battle fought here is the ongoing struggle of the residents to protect their houses against the inexorable advance of the sea.
Nikon F2, Nikkor 35mmPC lens shifted upwards, #25A+Polarizer, Ilford XP-2 Super.
The 42nd parallel passes just north of Plymouth, Massachussets. There, tucked in the souhternmost corner of the town of Duxbury, an old farm now serves as a preserve and a walking area. Another place I had spent a lot of time driving by, I have found it has a lot of very interesting scenes. The one showed here was taken late in the winter. The almost perfect positioning of the path, the two trees and the clouds behind cried out to be captured. Filtration was used to darken the light blue sky and the winter-bleached grass.
Nikon F3, 50mm Nikkor with 25A filter, Ilford XP-2 Super
Mid-coast Maine is a vast resource for images of all kinds. This is the land of the Wyeths, Andrew and Jamie. It's difficult not to become involved in the spirit and imagery of the region. We visit their often, my family and I, and are never there for anywhere near long enough. Everywhere around is evidence of long-fought struggles, whether it's the defiant coastline against the onslaught of the Atlantic or that of the fishermen and lobstermen to eek out a meager living against the same foe. This anonymous house is like hundreds of others that provide shelter to the weathered seamen that work out of hundreds of tiny ports along Penobscot bay.
Nikon F3, Nikkor 105mm, Y2 filter, Ilford XP-2
I drive by this little pumphouse nearly every day on the way to taking my kids to school. I've always been intrigued by it but never saw the right opportunity. One day last fall I finally stopped, unloaded my equipment, and hacked through 50 feet of almost impenetrable briars to get to the edge of the pond. The soft, diffuse sunlight filtered by late fall skies and the almost complete absense of any wind made for a tranquil setting, despite the roar of highway traffic immediately behind me. This is just one of hundreds of such structures servicing the many cranberry bogs through the area south and east of Boston.
Nikon F2, Nikkor 50 mm, Ilford XP-2 Super
The First Herring Brook is one tributaries to the North River, winding its way through the Greenbush section of Scituate. There you will find a strange mix of tidal flats, sand dunes, luxury condominiums, landfills, nesting cranes and a golf course. It's the future home of a commuter rail line from Boston, a plan bitterly opposed by some in the area. One rainy October Sunady afternoon, my wife Linda and I were walking along some trails as rowers started coming home. The lighting and the fog was perfect for some contemplative shots, and this is but one example.
Nikon F3, Nikkor 180mm, no filter, Ilford XP-2
This image is one of the seredipitous moments that are so rare and precious. You can be at the right place at the right time, and not have the equipment or film or time or even the inclination to happen to look in the right direction. Had I been 10 minutes earlier or later, there would have been no picture. Shot along the shores of Duxbury Bay, this image unfolded itself in front of my eyes, almost unbelievably. The picture needed no filters, almost no manipulation: it just needed careful but rapid setup and preparation and then patience for just the right moment.
Nikon F2, Nikkor 35mm PC, no filter, Ilford XP-2 Super
The final image of this wing takes us back to over 30 years ago again. A January winter storm had blanketed Massachusetts' South Shore area. Regrettably for photographers such as myself, these heavy winter storms, or "nor'easters", are followed almost immediately by strong, bitterly cold northwest winds, the legendary Montreal Express. These winds almost totally clear all snow from the limbs of trees, leaving rather bland scenes following these storms. On this particular January day in 1969, I was fortunate enough to be out as the storm was ending and for some reason the following winds were delayed and subdued. This picture was obtained in the woods adjacent to our house, maybe at 11:00 in the morning.
Yashicamat 124, K2 filter, Tri-X in D-76