Flash Cards Extraordinaire: Charles Woodard, Ron Jude and the art and history of photography....
Once in awhile, life is actually synergistic....which means that its disparate pieces come together to create a complete picture, one that is actually larger than the sum of its parts.
The History of Photography in Pen & Ink, produced by Charles Woodard and published by A-Jump Books, is just such a picture.
Here's the story: Charles Woodard is a Parkie, a senior B.F.A. photography student.
During the semester when he took Nick Muellner's History of Photography course, Charles got into the habit of creating pen-and-ink drawings on 3x5 flashcards to help prod his memory about the details of various images and artists (you know: What was that photo by Paul Strand in 1916? What did it look like? Where was it produced? That kind of thing.....)
Ron Jude and his wife own a publishing imprint called A-Jump Books, dedicated to "assigning an identity to some artist book projects we wanted to do." Over time, those projects expanded to include projects by other artists -- including, as it turns out, Charles Woodard.
Ron and Charles have been working on the project for the past 18 months, and the books came back from the printer a few days ago. They're truly amazing: quixotic, whimsical, and somehow profound. Here's the description from the A-Jump Books website:
In a set of forty-three pen & ink line drawings, Charles Woodard levels the history of photography through his own unique brand of stylistic primitivism. Originally produced as pragmatic study aids for a 19th and 20th century history of photography survey course, these comical (and sometimes tragic) ball-pen ink drawings seamlessly bring together photographers as stylistically disparate as Robert Capa and Ed Ruscha. By bringing these crude renderings into the context of the book format, Woodard asks us to consider not only the humorous aspect of these flash cards, but also the reductive nature of image recall and how that relates to our more profound engagement with the world through memory.
Congratulations, Charles. Nice work, Ron. And everybody buy one, will you? Really, they'd make great gifts.....
Parkies are so darned cool, aren't they?
They really are.