Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the September 24, 2003 issue of U.S.
1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
In the Galleries: Ricardo Barros
To help celebrate the Ellarslie Museum’s 25th
photographer Ricardo Barros will display a collection of documentary
images last seen as a complete set in the early 1980s: "The George
Green Machine Shop Portfolio."
Barros is one of three artists presenting their work at the Trenton
museum’s anniversary exhibit. The opening reception is Saturday,
27, for the show that runs through November 9. Sharing the exhibition
are photojournalist Philip McCauliffe and sculptor G. Frederick
The photographs depict an early 20th-century machine shop that was
once located in Lambertville. The lustrous, black-and-white
reach beyond strict documentation to evoke in the viewer a sense of
what it was like to visit the "modern" workplace at the zenith
of the industrial revolution.
"Mr. Green’s machine shop has virtually disappeared. Mr. Green
is gone, and his machinery, although extant, is now being scattered.
The shell housing his equipment has an uncertain future," wrote
Barros when he completed the portfolio in 1982. "Working at the
behest of the Lambertville Historical Society, my task was to make
and preserve images of a wonderful past.
"Photographs describe to our mind the feeling of light, space
and surface. In photographic imagery, weight is measured by presence,
depth by darkness, and volume by luster. This vocabulary is direct.
It addresses our senses. Through visual imagery — often only parts
of a whole — I hope to preserve in the viewer the experience of
a very special place. This is a history that cannot be recorded. It
must be suggested."
Born in Seargeantsville, in 1885, George C. Green opened his machine
shop on York Street at the age of 24, in 1909. He repaired everything
from doll carriages to printing presses, often fabricating not only
the parts he needed but also the tools he needed to make the parts.
George Green was the fix-it man, and he plied his trade from this
location for half a century. An entrepreneur as well as a master
Green often chose, rather than just fixing things, to improve them
and then brought his ideas to market. At his funeral, on February
16, 1974, his wife Jenny Green slipped a wrench into his hands before
he was buried, presumably to keep making those adjustments to keep
our world turning.
Barros moved to Lambertville in 1980 during a time when
the Green Machine Shop was being quietly run by one of George Green’s
former assistants. "I have no recollection of ever passing through
York Street and seeing the shop door open. To me, the shop was just
another storefront," he says. "Then in 1982 the Lambertville
Historical Society requested that I get inside and photograph the
machine shop immediately. I had less than three days in which to work
— the shop was being sold and its contents were about to be
of. Upon gaining access, I experienced a bittersweet inspiration.
I was awestruck by what I found, and saddened to realize that soon
it would all be gone.
"Working with one camera made for very slow progress because the
interior spaces were so dark. I set up a second camera on its own
tripod, shuttling between the two cameras whenever the long exposures
allowed me to work on two compositions simultaneously. I was able
to make about 20 pictures under these constraints, and these were
exhibited that same year in Lambertville." This is the first time
since 1982 that Barros has presented this entire portfolio of images
since that show in 1982.
"These photographs represent a blend of technologies, both old
and new," he says. "The original images were made with black
and white film, mostly with a traditional view camera. Long exposures
were required because the George Green Machine Shop was so dark. The
exposures typically ranged from 10 seconds to 20 minutes, and for
some photographs the shutter was left open for hours. While I was
able to control the extreme contrast between light and dark values
through darkroom procedures, the negatives were still challenging
to print. I delivered one complete set of photographs to the
Historical Society, kept a few prints for my portfolio, and set the
negatives aside for years.
"Recently, with the advent of digital imaging, I revisited this
body of work. I discovered that 16-bit scans of the original film,
combined with the carbon pigment digital printing process that I now
use, could bring out information that was virtually invisible to
silver prints. Now, more detail from these vintage negatives is
both in the shadows and in the highlights. The tonal gradations are
smooth and subtle, and the matte prints’ surfaces are gentle on the
eyes. This state-of-the-art technology produces prints that hearken
back to the earliest days of the photographic medium. They are
of the hand-coated, platinum prints prevalent at the turn of the last
century — just about when George Green opened his shop."
Ricardo Barros is a professional photographer with a studio in
His images are in the permanent collections of the museums that
the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art,
the Museum of Art of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the New Jersey State Museum,
and Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum. His book, "Facing
A Portfolio of Portraits, Sculpture and Related Ideas," will be
published by Image Spring Press in January, 2004.
Trenton City Museum , Cadwalader Park, Trenton, 609-989-3632. Show
continues to November 9. Artists’ reception is Saturday, September
27, 7 to 9 p.m.
In the world of letters, Calvin Trillin is a man for
all seasons. Food, humor, serious non-fiction, and memoir are all
areas of his expertise. Family Guidance Center hosts "An Evening
with Calvin Trillin" at the Janssen Pharmaceutica Corporate Campus
in Titusville on Thursday, October 2, at 6:30 p.m. For reservations,
A man of letters who covers many genres, Trillin’s most recent book
is a compilation of essays: "Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local
from Kansas City to Cuzco." In addition to writing for Time and
the Nation, Trillin has been a columnist at the New Yorker since 1963.
The Kansas City native’s books on eating — "American
"Alice, Let’s Eat," and "Third Helpings" — have
become classics of the genre. His serious non-fiction includes
Denny," "Killings," and his autobiographical memoir
from My Father." He is also enjoyed for his comic novels, humorous
commentary, and political poems.
The Family Guidance Center was formed in 1993, the result of the
of two agencies which, together, have given nearly a century of
to the community. "An Evening with Calvin Trillin" will
all its programs including Children’s Day School, Children’s Day
Behavioral Healthcare, Consumer Credit Counseling, and Substance Abuse
Janssen Pharmaceutica Corporate Campus, Titusville, 609-924-1320.
Annual benefit evening with buffet dinner. By reservation, $125.
October 2, 6:30 p.m.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.