At The Root of Creativity

“At the root of creativity is an impulse to understand, to make sense of random and often unrelated details. For me, photography provides an intersection of time, space, light, and emotional stance. One needs to be still enough, observant enough, and aware enough to recognize the life of the materials, to be able to ‘hear through the eyes’.”

Paul Caponigro

 
 

Photographs by Paul Caponigro

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The Interaction with Nature

“Photography is a medium, a language, through which I might come to experience directly, live more closely with, the interaction between myself and nature.”

Paul Caponigro

 

Self-portrait, 1973

 

Paul Caponigro (born December 7, 1932), is an American photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. Caponigro started having an interest in photography at age 13. However, he also had a strong passion in music and began to study music at Boston University College of Music in 1950, before eventually deciding to focus on studying photography at the California School of Fine Art.

Caponigro studied with Minor White and has been awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships and three grants from the NEA. His best known photographs are Running White Deer and Galaxy Apple. His subject matter includes landscape and still life, taking an interest in natural forms. He is best known for his landscape works and for the mystical and spiritual qualities of his work. He is often regarded as one of America’s foremost landscape photographers. Caponigro’s first one-man exhibition took place at the George Eastman House in 1958. In the 1960s Caponigro taught photography part-time at Boston University while consulting the Polaroid Corporation on various technical research. Caponigro lived in El Rancho de San Sebastian during his time in New Mexico from 1973-1993.

In 1971, his work was exhibited in group exhibition “Le Groupe Libre Expression : Expo 5”, presented by Jean-Claude Gautrand, at Les Rencontres d’Arles festival, France.

Caponigro’s work is included in the collections of the Guggenheim, Whitney, Norton Simon Museum, New Mexico Museum of Art and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2001.

Caponigro is a dedicated pianist and considers his training with music to be essential to his photographic imagery.

A Desolation

Photograph by Paul Caponigro

 
 

“Now mind is clear
as a cloudless sky.
Time then to make a
home in wilderness.

What have I done but
wander with my eyes
in the trees? So I
will build: wife,
family, and seek
for neighbors.

Or I
perish of lonesomeness
or want of food or
lightning or the bear
(must tame the hart
and wear the bear) .

And maybe make an image
of my wandering, a little
image—shrine by the
roadside to signify
to traveler that I live
here in the wilderness
awake and at home.”

Allen Ginsberg