David Wolf Photographs

This project came to life as if by accident. A damaged negative prompted me to explore the possibility of adding motion to the printing process. Almost immediately the shifting, blurred imagery I discovered by experimentation showed the promise of creating something new. As I refined my technique, learning how to control and repeat its effects, I began to seek out buildings to photograph that had elements that would likely respond well to this manipulation.

As prints, the resulting images possess attributes from the best of both worlds: they are similar enough to be editioned within a series, yet each one retains slight differences that make it a unique image.

Each print is toned twice to produce a subtle and rich tonality that echoes past generations of photography, with hues that range from creamy beige and pinkish gray in the highlights and mid-tones to deep, rose colored shadows.

The series is printed on a paper chosen for its surface that enhances the subtleties of tonality and otherworldly quality of the imagery. As the paper is no longer manufactured, I will fulfill orders from my current inventory and the remaining supply of paper I have.

I photographed nearly all of the buildings of Transform/Transcend in San Francisco, during a time of great change that left its mark on the city’s landscape. In retrospect, I understand how the staggering rate and scope of this change at some point left me disillusioned, threatening my sense of the project’s purpose.

Time and again buildings I long admired were torn down, sometimes before I could photograph them. Sadly, many of these were in my own neighborhood. The transformative vision of decay and regeneration that had inspired the project from the start suffered in the face of this loss.

These images serve as a reminder, then, that the structures we build—whatever their function—house stories: not only when they are new, but also as they age, are forgotten, restored or replaced.