Via Robert Canaga Gallery
For more than three decades John Bauguess has been photographing people in city and rural landscapes, mostly in Oregon.In his photographs in both color and black and white, Bauguess expresses his love of traditions he has known since his childhood in Oregon, as evidenced in images of Grange hall dances and fiddle jams.
"Maybe what I photograph will help remind us that good traditions are worth hanging onto, that these contribute to a kinder society in which simple pleasures such as homespun music and lively conversation help people survive and stay together as families and communities."
It's not always good times in the small towns in his photographs, however. Bauguess also captures the decay and pathos of communities as a result of decline of sawmills and farming that once provided livelihoods and community stability. His photographs of the grittier side of rural life also contain in their starkness and loneliness a commonality with his documentation life in cities and suburbs.
"I think of myself as a recorder of contemporary Oregon history," he says. "At times I am preserving cultural elements that have given the state its identity. In other photographs I have attempted to reveal to people what they don't know about Oregon, perhaps even try to ignore. Two of my most important bodies of work have focused on homeless and disenfranchised people. The pictures of migrant workers living in abandoned cars were made to create questions. Regardless whether these photographs contributed to social change, they may have substantiated evidence for the need of it.
"Some photographs require my getting to know the people, as in the homeless, migrant worker and fiddler series. In the urban landscape, however--where I don't care to live, but like to often visit because it's interesting--I find a theatrical backdrop for a range of moods—sometimes humorous, sometimes disturbing. In these situations I usually keep a distance from the subjects as I quickly record gestures and expressions as they move through the scene. In these pictures the camera in a fraction of a second may capture something of my state of mind about the people and the environment. In situations where I get to know the people, I attempt to become like wallpaper. When the people are comfortable with me, then I can become comfortable, too, and photograph freely. In the cities, when I blend in with the crowd, I also find freedom to photograph."
Born in Eugene, Oregon in 1943, Bauguess has concentrated his personal photographic efforts during the last year learning to convert his photographic printing from the darkroom to the computer and digital printer. A greater need to care for his mother in recent years has forced him to be more at home than photographing in the field. As a result, he is using spare moments to archive 35 years of photography, scanning negatives and slides onto disk. In this process he has started to make black and white archival inkjet prints of photographs, a large number of which he has never or seldom published or displayed. At Robert Canaga Gallery he is displaying both vintage and more recent photographs. In the near future he plans to print a number of limited edition books that contain more than 300 of his best images.
Lane Community College, Eugene, OR, 1996, 1988, 1969Grand Central Terminal, New York City, NY, 1995Maude Kerns Art Center and Photo Zone Galleries, Eugene, OR, 1991Oregon Repertory Theatre, Eugene, OR, 1981Umpqua Valley Arts Center, Roseburg, OR, 1978Visual Arts Resources, University of Oregon Museum of Art, Eugene, OR, 1977Crossroads Art Center, Baker, OR, 1976Pearl Street Photo Gallery, Eugene, OR, 1976Brass Rail Tavern, Eugene, OR, 1972Contemporary Crafts Center, Portland, OR, 1970Klamath Art Association, Klamath Falls, OR, 1969Blue Mountain Community College, Pendleton, OR, 1968
Corvallis Art Center, Corvallis, OR, 1994, 1989, 1988New Zone Gallery, 1989Newport Art Center, Newport, OR, 1988Oregon-Washington Biennial at Maryhill Museum, Goldendale, WA, 1987Public Image Gallery, New York City, NY, 1984Project Space, Eugene, OR, 1983Woodstock, NY Center for Photography, Woodstock, NY, 1979University of Oregon Museum of Art, Eugene, OR, 1962
London Independent Sunday Review Magazine, Harrowsmith Country Life, Los Angeles Weekly, Utne Reader, Discovery, Northwest Magazine of The Oregonian; The Oregonian, The Oregon Journal, North American Review, Nature Magazine, Sunset, Harper's, Travel and Leisure, Viking Books, Riverhead Books, LaEspresso Magazine of Italy, Northwest Review, Oregon Quarterly, Oregon Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, The Oregon Stater, North American Review, Gold's Gym Book of Weight Training and Gold's Gym Book of Strength Training by Ken Sprague.