Untitled (#07.0117) 2007, Tony Mendoza
I finally had the chance to visit Blue Sky’s exhibition of Bob and Flowers – by Tony Mendoza. I was not very familiar with Mendoza’s work when I decided to visit the show and I have to admit that I tried not to let my first somewhat unfavorable impressions upon seeing a few dog pictures of “Bob” here and there or his “Cat” subjects – vowing to not let that bias get in the way of taking a good look. I was quick in thinking that goofy is… well, just goofy.
Untitled, from the Ernie series, 1985, Tony Mendoza
I’m glad I looked…
I came away realizing that my own bias towards searching out only “serious” photographs – or at least what I think it means to be “taken seriously” colors my way of looking. Pun intended.
Untitled (#44.36), 2004, Tony Mendoza
Untitled (#33.068), 2005, Tony Mendoza
Untitled (#34.050), 2005, Tony Mendoza
What I realize now upon seeing the flower series – is that my attitude is pretty naive on what constitutes “serious” photography… Mendoza shows us that ultimately any subject can be looked at and be a source for photographic inspiration – it’s nice to be reminded. I came away with the feeling – this guy’s having fun – I wish more work I encountered would leave me with that sense of joy.
While these may “just be flowers”, his work picturing them, clearly points out that color, structure, form, style and viewpoint can transform what you might ordinarily dismiss. A feat not easily accomplished. So pictures can be fun too…
See more here at Lens Culture… or Mendoza’s own web site. The book “Flowers” by Nazraeli Press – Portland, OR – rivals the prints in quality and simple beauty…