The First Wound and PROOF by Ron Gordon

The First Wound
Statement by Ron Gordon

Comisky Park Demolition Series, Infield, May 6, 1991

“I was expecting it, waiting for it, but when the wrecking ball hit the old ballpark, it was as if I had felt the first wound myself.  Old Comiskey, with all its memories, all its ghosts, would soon be but a ghost itself.  These feelings have always fueled my need to photograph the demolition of old structures,

But this one was personal.

I had spent a lot of time here with family and friends, some of whom are now just memories themselves.  I have been compelled to leave a record of things in the process of disappearing, somehow to try to prove that they really existed, to answer the question of what used to be here.

In the fifties, I worked as a peanut vendor. The peanuts were 15 cents for a small bag and I made 20 percent or 3 cents a bag. One Sunday double header, I walked for about 6 hours and sold 600 bags. I made $18.00 and thought I was the richest teenager in the world.”

PROOF

Comisky Park Demolition, Roll 10, May 6, 1991

“For me the proof sheet of a roll of film was the first chance that I had to see an image that I had spent time contemplating in the field. The subjects of my work existed in the real world outside of my darkroom. Somehow I managed to capture them and there they were, appearing in a darkroom tray in front of me, as if by magic.

This magic fascinated me from the very beginning. It is what attracted me to photography in the first place. I loved the chemistry and the physics, the machines and the materials, the film and the paper.

I believed that the contact sheet had to be as good as a master print because it was the first look and contained all of the magic. In this digital age the image is visible at capture. It is instant and contains no surprises.

Vision is the most important part of the photographer’s long and complex creative process. The proof sheet is the first look.”

Ron Gordon
July 2010
Chicago

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