Sponsored by Visual and Performing Arts
Bob Modersohn's “Click by Click” will be on display in Preus Library from April 5 to May 21.
Bob Modersohn is a freelance photographer based in Lansing, Iowa. He had a long career as a staff shooter, recreation reporter and Midwest travel columnist for The Des Moines Register, where he twice won the National Press Photographers Association’s Photographer of the Year Runner-up Award. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature photography and was nominated six times for that award during his career. In 1985, he was part of a two-person team the Register sent to cover agriculture and conservation topics in drought and famine-stricken Ethiopia. The coverage won a World Hunger Media Award. He received numerous awards from the Iowa Press Photographers Association and the Iowa Associated Press, including Iowa Press Photographer of the Year honors. In mid-career of newspapering, he joined the faculty of the National Press Photographers Association’s prestigious Flying Short Course, lecturing to audiences across the United States during one whirlwind week. His talk and slides on humor in photography are still part of the NPPA’s library.
Recently, Modersohn has written and photographed stories for Living the Country Life magazine, Luther College, Chicago Tribune Sunday Travel, Decorahnews.com, produced photography for Successful Farming magazine, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF), Pulpit Rock Brewing Co., and Agri News, written and photographed recreation and fitness stories for The Des Moines Register’s FIFTYsomething and Q magazines. When not on assignment, Modersohn shoots life and landscapes in the Driftless Area of the Upper Mississippi River Valley.
Click by Click . . . photographic sequences
Black-and- white photo sequences taken during the 1970s and 1980s for the Des Moines Register were an obsession of mine. I’d shoot them, print them and tape them together — often in an accordion-like strip — then offer them to an editor with caption information. From a historical perspective, it was a time when video as a news and entertainment medium was just emerging. The sequences were my effort to bring a bit of movement to the still photography I was producing for news and feature newspaper pages. I always felt like the sequences were a visual game, that there would be some kind of punch line at the end. But, as in the series called “DAMN PICKUPS,” where a dog was lying in the middle of a country road, I couldn't always predict what was going to happen — I just had to wait and see, which was half the fun of it. It also was an alternative visual treatment to a classic picture story, one that attempted to show all of what was happening at an event using different subjects, different lenses on the camera, different vantage points and different photo sizes and page formats. My strips usually focused on a single physical space over time. They were mostly rectangular packages, so page editors could drop them into four-cornered spaces easily. Nearly all I've selected for this show were published in the Register (thanks to picture editor/page designers Jim Magdanz and Lyle Boone). I suppose the two photographers who most inspired these little time passages are Elliott Erwitt and Duane Michals—especially Michals with his "dream" or "fantasy" sequences, although mine were derived from real situations that I encountered.
Questions? Contact David Kamm, 563-387-1665