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23 x 18 3/4- inch Polacolor print, 1984. This is a fascinating and enigmatic print. It stems from a project initiated by William Johnson and his wife Susie Cohen that involved the photographers Robert Heinecken, David Heath and John Wood along with Frank. Johnson gives a fascinating lengthy account of the project as it relates to this print on his blog site vintagephotosjohnson.com. It includes an account of how the Polaroid Corporation became involved, and how that led to Frank coming to Boston to use one of the two large Polaroid cameras in existence. (There are also blogs about Heinecken’s and David Heath’s work on the project.) The central element in the piece shows Frank beside an arrangement of cork boards on which various scraps and marks are placed, including the word “reality” and “For Dave Heath.” It is thus a record of one element of the project, as well as a self-portrait. The material in the margins, that might be matted out, seem to me to be perfectly in accord with the nature of the project in which the distinction between “reality” and the art work is blurred. The part of the border closest to the main picture shows that picture on a stand, with various notations and test strips. In other words the “original” was prepared to be re-photographed, and those notations are part of the resulting copy photograph. Now it appears that THAT photograph is now prepared to be photographed again, because the outermost notations are written in marker directly on this print. So we have several layers of “reality” outside the central picture. The entire object, with these borders, is more interesting than just the inner picture. As with many prints from the large camera, there is some roughness to the top and bottom edges, as the strip of film had to be rolled down and then manually cut.


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