Ralph Stout (Photography)

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New York City and Other Places

Home Town

These slightly off-kilter cityscapes, taken in the back streets and alleyways of my newly adopted home town of Hudson, New York between 2005 and 2008, reflect some of the most unusual architectural features and jarring contrasts that Hudson has in abundance. Hudson strikes me as a cross between a Grandma Moses painting and a tableau from the brush of a Joan Sloan or a George Luks. The main drag, lined with freshly renovated vintage buildings, is postcard material. The back streets reflect decades of neglect. I was drawn at once to the gray area that lies between prosperous Warren Street and neighboring Diamond (now Columbia) Street, which in years past housed the speakeasies and bordellos that kept this place going. I did not set out to depict the remarkable Hudson renaissance, or indeed, its persistent squalor – I am an abstractionist at heart. Still, despite earnest attempts to distance these images from their referents, I appear to have done quite the opposite. Photography is full of surprises, almost all of them unpleasant, but in the present case, things worked out very well. I give the town of Hudson credit for that. There is something about its character that shines through no matter how you look at it. 

-- Ralph Stout, 2009

 

Home Town: Limited edition Portfolio of 20 archival pigment prints signed by Ralph Stout

Paper size: 6 x 8 inch photographs are mounted on 11 x 14 artists paper

Presented in a black clamshell box

$2000.00

 

These photographs are also available individually

 


Palimpsest, 2009

Artist Statement

I have been, in turn, a lapsed graduate student in mathematics, a computer programmer and consultant, an inventor (see, for example, United States Patent 5590319), the president of a computer animation company, the chief scientist of a software firm, and a participant in at least two ill-fated high-tech startup ventures. The purpose of my daytime activities over the years has been to support my family while pursuing a nocturnal career as a painter and a photographer, and I have succeeded after a fashion. But, while I have always managed to set aside a certain amount of time for painting and photography, I have never had the time to bring my work to the attention of others. That is what I am now trying to do.

I graduated from Bucknell University in 1960 with a degree in Mathematics and went from there to Educational Testing Service, where I learned to program computers. In 1961, I left ETS, hoping to pursue an advanced degree in mathematics. Following a one-year stint as a graduate student at NYU, I dropped out, hoping, this time, to become a painter. Things might have turned out differently had I not been drafted at that point. Perhaps, but when I got out of the army in 1963, I went to work for Advanced Computer Techniques Corporation, a tiny computer consulting firm, and never looked back. ACT flourished, particularly in Europe, and I soon found myself in Paris, leading a developmental project in France for Compagnie des Machines Bull. I did not return for five years.

I came back to the US, and ACT, in 1975 and remained there until 1982 when the company founder and I left to form a new venture we decided to call LSInc. LSInc made technical history by building the first full-featured animation system for personal computers but it was never a financial success. NTT bought us out in 1986 and, as part of the deal, my partner left to live in Japan. I spent three tough years doing a variety of consulting jobs while trying in vain to raise money to build a new music synthesizer chip. In 1989, I joined Information Builders, a software vendor specializing in business intelligence and enterprise reporting and remained there until April of 2006.

My shadow career, as a painter and photographer, has been far less eventful. I began painting as an undergraduate at Bucknell. In the late sixties, at the urging of Wolf Von Dem Bussche, a photographer friend, I took up photography. I find I have little to say about either of these activities. It’s best, I think, to let my work speak for itself.

 




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