Ryan Nicholson: My Father’s Archive
Ryan Nicholson shot me a note the other day, and I’m sure glad he did. Here’s the gist:
“I wanted to share a project with you that I started over the past month with my father. My dad Larry Nicholson was a commercial photographer in Kansas City for many years and I started working through his archive and posting my weekly findings on a website. As you will see my dad shot a little bit of everything from knights to circus elephants. I thought you might enjoy it.”
Enjoy it I do! AND THE KNIGHTS ARE SO AMAZING I CAN HARDLY STAND IT.
This is Ryan’s dad at work:
And here’s a little Q&A Ryan cooked up for us:
When were these images shot?
My dad started working as a photographer in the mid 1950′s and continues to shoot on a smaller scale to this day. The earliest image on the blog at this point is image #9 of the Plaza (which is a popular outdoor shopping area in Kansas City that is illuminated by Christmas Lights every holiday season) which was shot in 1954. The most recently shot image is #1 of the Armco Steel plant which was shot in 1981.
Part of me would like to include more details about all the images but I often don’t know the details and neither does my father. I also like the idea of the images being interesting on their own without dates or additional background information.
Is your Dad still alive?
Yes, very much so. I spend time with him each week (generally on Thursday’s) going through his many file cabinets of negatives, slides, and prints. I have only been through a few of the file cabinet drawers at this point.
How many images are in your father’s archive?
I don’t have anything close to an exact number but I would guess there are well over 100,000 images in his archive. We have truly just began to go through his archive. I could probably work on this project full time for many years and still not see everything.
What is the goal of this project?
It started from a desire to make sure that some of our family’s favorite images got digitized and saved before anything happened to the negatives.
Once I got started and truly got a feel for the amount and quality of the work I wanted to create an avenue to showcase the work. I would love to put together a book or gallery showing of his work.
What is the story with the Knight series? (!)
That series of images was assigned to my dad by a local advertising agency called Valentine Radford (which I believe is now VML) for their client Old Security Insurance. I just found more images from that assignment that include the knight playing golf which I will share soon.
What is your personal favorite image?
So far we haven’t found the negatives for many of my personal favorites. Every week I am hopeful that we will find one and that is part of what keeps me digging through file cabinets.
Can we buy prints of the images?
Yes you can purchase prints of all the images on the blog. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in buying a print or licensing an image for commercial use.
Ok, now see some pretty thangs.
Here are some more. I love the soft feel.
Anyone else out there have a parent/child photographer story? I want to hear it.
And go see Ryan’s work too.