Frank Engel, Photographer
I began photographing with a Brownie Hawkeye about age nine, developing my own black-and-white film, and making contact prints with a small light box. The thrill of seeing an image develop in a darkroom, smelling the chemicals and navigating the process with the aid of a dim orange light captured my imagination for a lifetime. I made images for another three decades but did not take the hobby seriously until my 40s when I realized I had both an “eye” and a passion for the medium.
I worked as a studio portrait photographer and wedding photographer for a number of years, built a home studio and continued to work independently and sporadically until the digital age of photography firmly and irreversibly established itself. Although I continue to shoot digital format with less-technical cameras, it is my backlog of thousands of chromes and black-and-white proof sheets that intrigues me most. I now have time to reconsider gems I hastily overlooked during the past 30 years.
Photographs, for me, document a place, a time; something I see and learn about. Black-and-white portraiture, my favorite photographic pursuit, is the most satisfying and the most challenging. Andrew Wyeth referred to a painting of a hay bale as a portrait, and I’ve come to accept his idea that a painting, engraving or photograph must say something about the subject—whatever that is. The product must elicit a mood, an emotion, a feeling, a deeper understanding or appreciation of the person, place or thing depicted; that is what makes a picture a portrait.
Juried and invitational one-person and group shows from 1984 to 1998 include:
Multiple All-Oregon Art Annuals in Salem; Portland Art Museum Sales-Rental Gallery; The Paul Villaseñor Library, San Bernardino, CA; The Schubert Gallery, Albany, OR; Third Street Gallery, Seattle; Camerawork Gallery, Blue Sky Gallery, Gallery 8 and others in Portland; Umpqua Community College, Roseburg; Ventura College Art Department, Ventura, CA; Portland State University, White Gallery; Metropolitan Arts Commission, Portland; Oregon Jewish Museum; Sisters of the Road Cafe in Portland and others. Public collections include Metro City Collection.
Institute of Judaic Studies’ “Jerusalem 3000” exhibition
Portland’s Metropolitan Arts Commission, Project Grant Panelist.
The Oregonian, The Portland Jewish Review, Hadassah Magazine, The Last Crypto-Jews of Portugal by David Canelo (1980), Summit Records (Tempe); The Childe Hassam Catalogue (Hirshl & Adler Galleries, NY); Anchorage Museum of History and Art; Variety Theater (Hollywood, CA); Willamette Week; Lake Oswego Review; Stepping Out Northwest Quarterly; American Crafts: A Sourcebook for the Home; Trouvailles (Paris); American Board of Professional Psychology; Laura Russo Gallery (Portland); Littman Gallery (Portland); Smith Western Scenic Postcards; University of Maryland (College Park); Pacific Northwest College of Art, Wentz Gallery; Gracias a la Vida, Oregon Council for Hispanic Advancement and others.