THE EARLY ONES (1995-97)

Using a primitive hand-drag scanner and equally primitive image-processing software available at the time, I attempted to do photo-alterations and enhancements in the earliest months of my acquaintance with the PC. I had been astonished by a demo at a trade fair in the Javits Center in New York, where I saw a young guy producing what seemed to me to be miraculous effects with a scanned photo, a mouse, and software of unknown provenance, and wanted to learn to do exactly what he was doing.

I had been doing darkroom photography on and off throughout my life, beginning with a "darkroom" that I made by myself in the closet of my Kansas farmhouse childhood home--at age 9 or 10. I built a plywood box with an incandescent bulb inside and a rectangular hole in the top that I sawed with a coping saw, over which I secured a piece of frosted glass that I'd scavenged free from a local glass company. A sandwich negative holder with clips to hold the printing paper completed my contact printing equipment. I added a mask--preferring heart-shape--bought a small red bulb for a lamp I could carry into the closet, and I was in business! I still have some of the tiny heart-shaped photo results of classmates in Garfield Grade School in Coffeyville, Kansas, from around 1946, and I still remember the vinegary smell of the chemicals in the white porcelain pans I used to develop my masterpieces. My parents humored me in this and many other such ambitions, and I spent many hours turning out photos of pretty classmates or "couples" that I took to school in a black-page album to show my friends.

I often abandoned photography for years at a stretch, and in college shot with an old Argus C3 (?) simply to document my travels with a music group---some in black and white, many others in Kodachrome slides. I did make collages of some of the black and whites, first by cut-and-paste with scissors, and later by xerox machines, which allowed me to adapt scale, draw in missing details, etc. But my passion for photographic manipulation essentially had to wait until after I retired from the university in my fifties, and after I married my wife who is a photographer. She taught me to use the computer, and I started immediately to digitize in any way I could. By 1993 I was making first digital collage attempts a few pixels at a time. In 1994 I discovered the internet, and its newly hatched World Wide Web. In 1995 I "published" my first website, mostly devoted to digitally manipulated photographs I had scanned and combined and altered to make what I already was calling "surreallegories". Finally there was a way to make any image I could imagine AND to publish it for the world to see, all while sitting at my desk with a PC and a mouse. My discovery of Photoshop sealed the deal, and I set about learning it along with html coding, and learned enough to found and run a small post-retirement company for website development for almost ten years.

I am pasting below some of the earliest images I made in those first months of the mid-90s web. They are embarrasingly rough and unskilled, but they give me happy memories of the path that led to my current large-scale photocollages, which will, in their turn, also come to be seen as technologically outmoded.

These early attempts are not, of course, zoomable: there is simply not enough information to allow any enlargement.

Darrell Taylor
Club Singe (1994)
Darrell Taylor
Fun House (1994)
Darrell Taylor
Fashion Enforcer (1995)
Darrell Taylor
Ladies of the Ancient Night (1995)