Randall Armor – wandering around taking pictures.


Randall Armor

Founder and Head Photoweenie of photoweenie.com, Jim Fitts, co-curated with Anne DeVito an exhibition at Panopticon Gallery in Boston. The exhibition is titled What I Did On My Summer Vacation. Panopticon put out a call-for-entries and the work of 35 photographers was select by Jim and Anne to be part of the exhibition. You can see more of the photographer’s work and get information on the exhibition here.
A few of the photographers in the exhibition will have their work featured on photoweenie.com. This posting features the work of Randall Armor.

Randall supplied photoweenie.com with the following background information
Like many of my contemporaries, I fell in love with photography in the mid-1970’s and studied the work of the icons of the late Modern era, great artists like Friedlander and Frank and Erwitt and so many others.  Unlike most of them, however, I chose to forego a traditional college education and stumbled instead into a job as a union subway train driver in Philadelphia. I usually worked the “night owl” from midnight until the morning rush hour 5 days a week, all the while dreaming of a life as a globetrotting photographer.

After a few years I managed to find a vague semblance of that life, and I’ve been working professionally with a camera, and now as an educator and writer, since 1981. I am proud to say that I am unashamedly an “old school” photographer, albeit one who grudgingly learned to embrace digital tools at a fairly early stage in their viability. But while mastering the new technology kept my mind occupied for a while, The Americans it wasn’t, and the intellectual emptiness of commercial work just about drove me crazy.

It seems that all those nights spent daydreaming on the rails (followed by a career that so often seemed to be on the skids) left an indelible mark on me. I wanted to be moving, to be in that hopeful, hopeless space between here and there, and little by little, that sense became apparent in my photographs. My best work, like Street Vendor on Constitution Avenue, has always come from being somewhere other than here, either in mind or in body. And I’m usually equipped with nothing more than a wide-angle camera and whatever personal or professional maelstrom is spinning in my head.

Some may call what I do “street photography”, but I’ve never been able to think of it as anything more than simply “wandering around taking pictures”, always through the complex lens of my own world view. Like most photographers I know, it’s an obsession that is greatly intensified by travel. I was pleasantly surprised to learn recently that many of Lee Friedlander’s masterpieces were made while on road trip vacations with his young family in the 60’s and 70’s. Imagine the slideshows!

Photography has changed a lot in the time it’s taken me to feel like I’ve got it figured out, which I guess means that I still have some figuring left to do. But when I think about where I am and where my students and I are going, I come down firmly in the camp of Elliott Erwitt: “My wish for the future of photography”, he stated earlier this year in an interview for Leica, “is that it might continue to have some relevance to the human condition and might represent work that evokes knowledge and emotions. That photography has content rather than just form. And I hope that there will be enough produce to balance out the visual garbage that one sees in our current life.”

From 1995 until the mega-merger with Macy’s in 2006, Randall Armor was an advertising photographer for Filenes in Boston. In the decade prior to that he shot commercial and editorial assignments for Lotus, Charrette, Fidelity Investments, Harvard Health, Graphique de France, ColorAge, Boston Magazine, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other corporate, technology and advertising clients, all after an earlier 5-year stint as a portrait and wedding photographer in Newport, RI.

Randall has been teaching both film-based and digital photography for over 25 years in continuing education, certificate and undergraduate programs at Portsmouth (RI) High School, The Swinburne School, New England School of Photography, and New England Institute of Art. He joined the adjunct faculty at Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts in 2007, and has directed its photography program since 2009.

You can see more of Randall’s work here.
All photos: © Randall Armor. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

The facts:
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
September 12 – January 14, 2014
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 12th, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Panopticon Gallery
502c Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617 267-8929