Singular Sensation
"Never Seen It Quite This Way..."

I liked the place, the Boathouse Cafe in Central Park, and I wanted to do something with it," says Ted Hardin. But he realized that one photograph couldn't capture the Cafe's ambiance. So with an Olympus Stylus, and on Kodacolor 100 film, Hardin, a New York City-based magazine photographer, took a bunch of photos and started experimenting with the processed machine prints. "I put them together and liked what I saw," he says. "Then I went back and took more photos, pasted them down, saw where I needed more, and just kept on going."

When Hardin says "pasted them down," he means literally that. He doesn't use a computer; the assembly is done with scissors, rubber cement, and art board.

From a rather small composite, the Central Park image grew over a period of months to include pictures taken at other locations. "In the foreground you see four people and a dog--they were on Fifth Avenue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and were originally going to be in another montage I was doing. But they seemed to fit the need for a foreground, and the light was striking them the correct way--that's something I had to be careful about when matching things up." Not only were people moved to Central Park, so was the dove seen near the center of the image. It was photographed outside Hardin's apartment window.

Once it was completed, Hardin hung his 15x15" creation on the wall, set up a DynaLite on either side, and with a Hasselblad 500C fitted with an 80mm f/2.8 Zeiss Planar, copied the work onto Fujichrome 100 film.

Of his angular construct, Hardin says, "Everything I used seemed to go with the quirkiness of the place. By not having straight edges or borders, my composite captures the energy of the Boathouse Cafe--it just goes where it goes."