We have a new series we are excited to announce “Artist on Artist” and first up is Petty Thieves Alum William Douglas writes about the influence of Joel Meyerowtiz’s work on his own.

William Douglas fts The Same Difference Between Us and Them William Douglas fts The Same Difference Between Us and ThemWhen I first started making pictures, many photographers who used cameras to capture “the decisive moment” intrigued me. However, growing up in quieter coastal environments I often did not find creating these types of images to be truthful to my situation. The first photographer I related to artistically was Joel Meyerowitz. I found a copy of his book Cape Light in a thrift store while on a camping trip to Hatteras Island. Being that I was living in an area that lies near multiple rivers, a bay, and an ocean, water was prominent in my artwork. At the time I found the book I was not actively searching for photographers; I was mostly taking pictures to use as reference for paintings I was creating in Chesapeake, Virginia. A majority of the artistic imagery I was exposed to up until this point, with the exception of pop culture influences, was local nautical art with no larger conceptual context.

Joel Meyerowitz Plate 8 Ballston Beach, Truro, 1976 William Douglas fts The Same Difference Between Us and Them

William Douglas fts The Same Difference Between Us and Them Joel Meyerowitz Plate 15 Provincetown,1976When I bought Cape Light it had been almost thirty years since its first print with The Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Knowing that a series can resurface and influence a different generation years later is still something that excites me when viewing classic photographs. I was intrigued by Meyerowitz’s use of toying with the cliché of beach imagery through large format photography, while presenting a type of intimacy someone can only gain by investing time within a tidal region. Through his photographs I learned methods of capturing an aura of a place. In the forward of the book Clifford S. Ackley refers to the twilight hours in which Meyerowitz would make his photographs, quoting the french phrase entire chien et loup (“between dog and wolf”). It was the use of light during these hours that heightened the narrative quality of his photographs, which enlightened me to the possibilities of what I could capture with a camera. As years have passed, I have found many more influences since I came across this series but I still look back to Cape Light and especially PLATE 29 TRURO, 1976 and PLATE 37 PROVINCETOWN, 1977 when seeking inspiration.

William Douglas fts The Same Difference Between Us and Them Joel Meyerowitz Plate 29 Truro, 1976

Please see more work from both William Douglas and Joel Meyerowtiz