Paul Black studied painting in graduate school, but when his studio burned down two weeks before his final project was due, he picked up a camera and began photographing his wife, Carol. He never stopped.
A career with Polaroid gave Paul access to almost unlimited film and the directive to shoot it. Later, together, the pair opened the photo lab Photographique.
And now, after more than 50 years together – and thousands of images of Carol – a show of Paul’s work opens this weekend at Barry Whistler Gallery in Dallas. In State of the Arts, I talked with the couple about a lifetime of making art.
You two have been married for more than 50 years. Carol, do you remember the first time Paul took a photo of you?
How many images would you say you took?
All of Carol. Were you posing, Carol?
Tell me more about what looking back on these photos, some of them 50 years old, what that brings up.
You both started Photographique. Which is now one of the only film labs left in town. So you’ve always been a part of the photography scene here. Are you excited to be having this show?
And you’re making art in many different ways. There’s the photos that you’re taking but you also do restoration. You make frames. Carol, do you shoot photos?
I like talking to kids and telling them what photos are the best when they come in asking for help selecting a photo for a contest. I get a real kick out of that, when they tell me, hey, it won. Or I’m going to college because the photo that you picked out won me a grant.
Visually, I think you just become sincerely acute with your eye. And you just know what’s good.
And you are seeing a comeback of film. What do you think is bringing people back to film photography?
They have a roll of film that has 24, 36 on it. And then it stops. And you have to get another roll.
The problem with digital photography is that it’s difficult to contain it. If you have a thousand pictures, you have to look at them. And it’s too much.
Now, isn’t that unusual?