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"It seems like I grabbed from life and caught the image."

“Grabbing at images is a hallmark of the way I was shooting these pictures,” says photographer Carl Pope. “It seems like I grabbed from life and caught the image.” That was just the quality that Minneapolis Institute of Arts Photography Curator Ted Hartwell saw when he met Pope on a visit to Pope’s hometown, Indianapolis, Indiana.

“He wasn’t over reaching or straining artistically,” says Hartwell. “There is a spontaneity in his approach, responding to his subjects.” The toy camera that Pope used to make these pictures can’t be focused. It is a haphazard and accidental way to take pictures. The accidental look Hartwell describes as “crazy energy that I think is really nice, and the ragged edges of the photos just add to the informality of the pictures.”

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Minneapolis Institute of Arts