The Photography of Kenn Bisio

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DAM Stairs, Denver Art Museum, Denver

Terri took me to the Denver Art Museum (DAM) for my birthday and I took my iPhone.

I saw this purely as a Hipstamatic image. The “view finder” in the Hipstamatic App is barely approximate. But that’s the point. I had to make three or four exposures to get the edges just right. The banister going up the steps is so close to the edge of the frame. And I blame Henri Cartier-Bresson for that.

The tight composition is a holdover from my days as a shooter. In the early 1970s I discovered HCB. All his photographs had a black border around them. A bit of research and I discovered he (well, his lab boy) filed out the 35mm negative carrier, so it had the unexposed film near the sprocket holes visible, therefore, printing the black frame around the negative. More research informed me that HCB’s photographs are 100 percent of the negative.

I dedicated myself to have the discipline of the frame so that I too, could have that cool black border around my prints.* That black border states that I compose in the camera so I do not decompose in the darkroom. I have transferred that practice to my digital work in DSLR and Hipstamatic. I compose in the camera so I do not decompose in Lightroom.

*Alan Ross, my dearest friend, hates the black border and almost tolerates me.


Archival Pigment Print
5×5, mounted and matted in 8×10 on 100% museum rag $50
8×8, mounted and matted on 11×14 100% museum rag $100

iPhone SE
Hipstamatic, John S lens + Uchitel 20 film