The Book of Paris
by Jan Becket
October 6-31, 2018
Opening Reception 10/6, 7-9pm

We’re having an opening reception for Jan Becket this Saturday, 10/6, 7-9pm. He was the former Kamehameha Schools photo instructor who retired a few years ago. He will be showcasing The Book of Paris – Volume 1, 1975-2014. Please join us as he will be present for the opening reception. The installation will be up thru 10/31.

The Book of Paris, Volume I

“These are incidental images, begun when I was a literature student in Paris and really should have been putting more time into assignments. However, I managed to read Proust, graduate and still emerge with the beginnings of a Paris street project. In those years I fell into the habit of attending early classes and then going out into the city with my twin-lens camera late in the afternoon to take advantage of the light. I love the soft Paris light falling on the texture of old stone and on the faces of those passing through that landscape. It seemed magical to me. It still does. I’ve returned many times since, even though the city I photographed in 1975 no longer exists.

Initially, the privacy of my subjects was not in my thoughts. I asked permission sometimes, sometimes not. That is probably evident in the images themselves. However, on recent visits I often use a medium-format pinhole camera, which requires long exposures, reducing faces and bodies to ghostly blurs. The camera must be stabilized on a solid surface, since I do not carry a tripod. It’s a constraint that quickly becomes part of the process, but which does turn people into more abstract objects.

Most of my other work is made on an unforgiving 4X5 wooden field camera. The least slip of mental focus in a long series of steps results in a ruined image and a re-shoot. Pinhole, I find, is a relaxing, liberating escape from the tyranny of focus and to some degree, composition. It depends on chance.

These images have been printed with a third-party set of inks, Eboni 6. They are 100% carbon pigment, with no toning dyes added. I purchase the black ink and then dilute it myself, using a special base. Carbon pigment, whether inkjet or in another process, is always slightly warm – as are these prints. The images are not printed on digital media. Rather, I am using an uncoated traditional French watercolor paper, Arches Aquarelle hot press. Perhaps because of my literature background, I bind the images into book form. This dictates that the vertical and horizontal images be bound separately. These are the vertical images, Volume I of The Book of Paris, www.thebookofparis.com.”

J’espère qu’un ou deux de ces petits essais vous plaira.

Jan Becket, October, 2018