fb icon

Articles tagged with: ranchos iglesia de taos

Self Portrait of Ned Scott as a young man

on Sunday, 13 November 2011. Posted in News

It is highly likely that Ned Scott created this self portrait during the year 1931, right after joining the Camera Club of New York. I do not yet know just how or under what circumstances my father joined that august group of photographers in 1930, but I do know that he used his Graflex 5 x 7 to shutter this image of himself. It was the same camera he used to shoot his 1931 photographic study of famed New Mexico church Ranchos Iglesia de Taos, a task which fell to many of the members of the Club. As a matter of fact, Paul Strand made his own study in the same year, one of several he was to do in the 1930's. I look at this self portrait of my father these many years later, and he appears a stranger to me. When I was growing up as a young boy, I saw a very different man. What I remember most about him was a consuming warmth which radiated from him in a quiet and firm way. There was not a trace of the stern aloofness masking a touch of anger, or perhaps hauteur which is on view in this portrait. I never knew this man. Life changed him in a better way and he became more open to life, excited about the world around him, and eager to express himself creatively. Letters he was to write in 1935, just four years later, confirm that this change was firmly underway. And so by the beginning of his years in Hollywood as a still photographer, this new man's photographic eye cast a more accepting, encompassing and respectful gaze on his subjects. At the time Ned Scott snapped this photo of himself, he was seven years from creating the most iconic of John Wayne photos ( movie Stagecoach) and fifteen years from making the most famous of the photos of Rita Hayworth (Down to Earth). The man in this photgraph would never have had the subtlety to bring out the nuances of a refined Hollywood character actor or the graceful essence of a natural beauty.

Ned Scott self portrait

A self portrait of Ned Scott as a young man of 25

1932 New York Camera Club letter discusses Ned Scott's photographic art

on Sunday, 13 January 2013. Posted in News

The essence of Ned Scott's photographic art was discussed early in his career by New York Camera Club member Henwar Rodakiewicz in a letter he wrote to Ned Scott from Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts after a Camera Club meeting in November, 1932. It was important to Henwar that Ned Scott's images were fresh, honest and straightforward. Looking at them gave Henwar a feeling and courage and well being. But beyond freshness and honesty--true attributes which he admired--conciseness was the most important thing about Ned's prints. That conciseness goes to the heart of what is good in photographic art: an unswerving and relentless thing which strikes deep within and "pierces the shrouds of confusion" and that that thing is said "in one steady flow". In a letter to Ned Scott written from Santa Fe in February, Paul Strand stated that clarity and singleness of purpose were essences of a good photograph, and he called Ned Scott "The most promising young photographer I know". Paul Strand was a Camera Club member in those days, and in 1933, he wrote to Ned Scott from Mexico discussing technical aspects of the Graflex 5 x 7 camera.

ranchos church taos

Ranchos Iglesia de Taos, 1931, photo by Ned Scott. It was prints like these which were discussed at New York Camera Club meetings in the early 1930's.