Even though I attended Hampshire College, I never studied photography with Jerome Liebling. I was more interested in exploring linguistics and cognitive science at the time, and didn’t really get serious about photography until my 30s. But Mr. Liebling’s presence was everywhere at Hampshire, and just being on campus meant you were somehow influenced by it. The photography classes were legendary, and getting into one was notoriously difficult. Those who made it in were proud and excited, as well they should be. That energy showed in their projects, their intensity, and their shows. You couldn’t avoid seeing this group of people, lead by Mr. Liebling, who treated photography as an art and a calling. It’s been almost 20 years since I was a student, but I wonder how much of that attitude infected me back then without my awareness, only to emgerge later in my life when I finally discovered my love and fascination with the art of photogrpahy.
The New York Times has a wonderful article on Jerome Liebling, as he is being lauded tonight at the Museum of Television and Radio in NYC. In the article, he said one thing that resonated with me, and my current work with leaves, seeds and bark. I’ve been spending a long time on this one project, and sometimes wonder if it’s taking up too much of my time. But Mr. Liebling talked about he has been working on a series of photographs about an apple orchard near his home since 1979:
“I guess that’s a long time to be working on an apple orchard, isn’t it? But the apples still keep growing each year.”