Reminiscences of Visual Poetry, Initialed contact prints presented by Lisa Rey-Galiay, commented by Peter Howard :
“When the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery offered Wright Morris (1910- 1998) a retrospective exhibition of his photographs, in 1975, the poet and photograph revisited his negatives ; he never had a commercial relation with photography, nor a dilletante production. He rather used his own photographs closely linked with his texts. With The Inhabitants in 1946, he demonstrated what have been seen as a paradox : “the absence of people in these photographs enhances their presence in the objects-the structures, the artifacts, even the landscape suggests its appropriate inhabitant”.
In order to prepare the exhibition, he printed by contact all his negatives : exactly 200 images he had managed to publish since 1936. Those annotated and initialed contact prints have been preserved until now and give us the chance to contemplate the process of his creation.
As he said in 1975, “I see my subject through the lens, but I conceive the picture in the dark room. Photography is Camera Obscura”.
Wright Morris took his photographs during very short and scattered periods of time, between 1936 and 1954. He bought his first view camera in 1938, “At this time we moved from California to Cape Cod and the car trip was an eye-opener. I saw the American landscape crowded with ruins I wanted to salvage. The depression created a world of objects toward which I felt affectionate and possessive. I ran a high fever of enthusiasm, and believed myself chosen to record this history, before it was gone”.