During the time of both these jobs, Frank realized there was something missing in his pursuit of an academic teacher and researcher, so he started a new career as a freelance photographer. He mainly photographs landscape, architecture, and people.
LAL (Lexington Art League): What is your background as an artist? What choices or influences in your life have led you to pursue this career? Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer?
FD (Frank Doring): Photography first touched me when I was a teenager. I had the good fortune of meeting someone twice my age at a jazz concert who turned out to be an Associated Press photographer and took me under his wings. I soon announced to my high school German teacher that I wanted to become a photographer too. She told me I was crazy. So I became a philosophy professor instead. I kept taking pictures on the side, built my first darkroom with my academic paycheck, spent too much time there, and twenty-five years after my pronouncement took the plunge.
LAL: What inspired you to create this piece? Is there a story behind it?
FD: I was out stress-testing a new lens under real-life conditions. A scraggly winter landscape in harsh, contrasty sunlight works well for that sort of thing. I had decided to pay Weisenberger Mill a visit because I was low on bread flour and curious to see how they had fared during the recent floods. The flotsam was easy to spot but quite hard to reach. I kept breaking knee-deep through what looked like reasonably firm ground.
LAL: What made you choose this title for your piece? Are you a fan of basketball?
FD: Who wouldn’t think of March madness when discovering an abandoned basketball in Kentucky in March? I am no fan, but that craze is hard to ignore.
LAL: How have other cultures impacted your work as a photographer?
FD: If academia counts as another culture, as it probably should, then it has taught me great respect for clear thinking and intellectual honesty. The kind of philosophy in which I was involved is somewhat technical. Its arguments and proofs can be more or less clumsy, elegant, or even beautiful. These abstract aesthetic qualities find their counterparts in photography.
LAL: What is the one thing you hope for people to take away from viewing “March Madness 2014"?
FD: I hope they enjoy their visual experience and perhaps extract a worthwhile thought (e.g. about Kentucky, plastic waste, basketball, the climate...) from the flotsam. Oops, these are already two things.
LAL: How would you describe your style?
FD: Deadpan tongue-in-cheek.
LAL: What type of cameras do you shoot with?
FD: Digital mirrorless, DSLR, 4" x 5" view camera (with sheet film), depending on how hard I am willing to work, how large I might print, whether the subject holds still, whether I might have to beat a hasty retreat.
LAL: What advice would you give to new artists/photographers?
FD: Before you write your next artist’s statement, google “artspeak” or “artist statement generator” and mull over some of the results.
Check out Frank's website: www.doeringphoto.com