Photographer In Two Shows

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Forget digital.

In fact, when you look at the photography of William Fuller, forget too, the first thing a tourist might think to look at in a new city, such as ships in port at Long Beach, Calif.

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Building/Cloud, Chicago, Illinois, 1987

Fuller sees the majesty of cities in the architecture of skyscrapers and sculptures of stone.

There is not a person, car or wire in any of the black and white photographs he took with his 4-by-5 camera for his two-volume portfolio, "The City - A Formalist View of American Architecture."

"The photographs are really pure form. That's what a landscape photographer looks for," Fuller said.

Because of something called "swings and tilts" Fuller uses a large format camera to get all the lines in a building parallel.

Look up with a 35-millimeter camera and the lines can converge.

He likens a 4-by-5 camera to a periscope.

"You can be down at ground level and still be looking up yet get straight lines," Fuller said.

Terry Etherton, owner of the Etherton and Temple galleries, chose 26 of Fuller's modernist photographs for a one-man show at his Temple Gallery in Tucson.

The show opened Jan. 18 and runs through Feb. 27.

Fuller "sees the ubiquitous office building, banal condominium, even a Mormon Temple, as pure, abstract form, rendering them beautiful and even edgy in our eyes. In Fuller's contemplative and precise photographs, towers of glass and steel become spiritual forms set against a pristine sky, as in Building-Cloud, Chicago, Illinois (1987)," according to Temple Gallery's press release.

Fuller is part of a second show, "Contemporary Photography in the West," that opened Feb. 2 and runs through March 31 at the Cattle Track Compound in Scottsdale.

Fuller shares the limelight with artist Brent Bond, Jay Dusard, Robb Kendrick and Bill Schenck.

Mark McDowell, publisher of photographic projects and an artist in residence at the compound, was moved by Fuller's compositional style.

"Bill's photographs are not so much the buildings as an architect might take, they are about the rhythm of the windows, the balance of sky," McDowell said.

"In many photographs, Bill is framing a portion of the building. I think that is a unique perspective because in black and white they become more about the composition than the actual building. He has an exceptional sense of design," McDowell said.

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Mormon Temple, La Jolla, California, 1998 Images courtesy of the Etherton Gallery Media: gelatin silver print.

The shows came about when Terry Etherton, who has carried Fuller's work on and off for years in his main gallery, introduced Fuller to McDowell because of McDowell's ability to make giant 30-by-38-inch prints.

"I just turned 60, so it is about time I started doing something with all (these photographs)," Fuller said.

To prepare for the shows, Fuller stopped work three months ago on his "Figures in a Landscape," a series of sculpture photographs.

He has not had time lately to return to his darkroom to develop the negative, watch his vision develop in a chemical bath, hang the first print to dry, then decide what printing and toning adjustments he will make to the second print.

Fuller has photographed sculpture and buildings in most big cities in the United States.

"I have been to the biggest city of them all, New York, but not to take pictures, so I would like to go back. I have never been to Seattle, but I hope to go there soon," Fuller said.

Fuller's work is included in the permanent collections of The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

He is interested in doing a museum show next.

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