Doug Fogelson: Forms and Records

“My series Forms & Records has a direct link to the legacy of the Institute of Design (ID) and the rippling influences it still has today. Photogram imagery was created with vintage 45 rpm records from the 50’s and 60’s as well as architectural shapes and pieces that I recovered from the dumpster at Crown Hall, Mies van der Rohe’s iconic structure at Illinois Institute of Design (formerly called ID). Many of my photograms were created in the same darkroom historically used by students and teachers located in the basement of that building. In fact, my photograms exposed there were the very last project ever made in that legendary analog darkroom before it was reconfigured and disappeared forever.

Looking at architectural models- now done in virtual 3-D computer models, and analog music such as 45’s- now heard via digital formats, through the camera-less photogram process- now replaced by “dry” digital photography and scanning technology, I am revisiting an older set of values. Like a kaleidoscope looking back in time to a flattened multilayered past where things were more physically tangible. The title can also connote another meaning from the past in which all that physical stuff piles up in the shape of actual paper form and record keeping such as an older office would have in filing cabinets and ledgers.

As a student in the Chicago based schools (SAIC and Columbia College) I learned from and was in direct contact with alumni of the New Bauhaus, notably Barbara Crane, Alan Cohen, Kenneth Josephson, Charles Swedlund, and Frank Barsotti. I feel a kinship with Ray K. Metzker, Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, and Laslo Moholy-Nagy in their expansive use of the medium, locally in Chicago and internationally in historical context. It is heartening to see that the creative “hands on” approach to photography is still able to transcend the digitization of the medium by contemporary photographers and that there is a continuing movement to explore those possibilities as they weren’t fully by those from the past.

-Doug Fogelson