Tice gave a free lecture yesterday at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum in Eugene (in conjunction with his current Paterson show there) followed by another today in Portland. For the Willamette Valley this is a rare treat. It's not like New York where you can take your pick of famous photographers speaking on any given night. Here we get one lecture per month at Blue Sky with bonus speakers like Tice on occasion.
Currently on view at Eugene's JSMA
I thought everyone would be going yet when I brought up the topic with a circle of photographer friends in Portland, the reaction was complete disinterest.
"What's he done again?"
"I think I'm busy."
I don't understand this reaction. Tice has been shooting over 40 years. He's received every accolade possible, and he is generally acknowledged to be in the upper tier of post-war photographers. To my knowledge he has never spoken in Oregon. So it seems strange for any active photographers here not to be at least a little curious.
One explanation is that people don't respond to his work. Which is fine. It's large format black and white, and not everyone is into that. If your brain is used to wearing a T-shirt and sandals it's hard to squeeze it into a tux. But give the guy props. Even if his photographs aren't your cup of tea I can guarantee you'll get something from his talk. He's been there and he's done that, and now he's ready to lay it on us.
The other possible explanation, which bothers me more, is that folks don't know his work and aren't curious to learn about it. Incuriosity drives me crazy! Incuriosity is the enemy of any creative act. Incuriosity is what keeps you from wandering around that next corner and once you stop doing that you might as well put a fork in you. You're done.
I was busy writing these thoughts down yesterday morning before the lecture. I figured I'd listen to him talk and wrap up the post with a few Tice anecdotes. But a curious thing happened on the way there. I never got in the door.
George Tice's lecture at the Jordan Schnitzer was sold out.