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teri
dick
modlin
 

Black Mountain College Project   


   

In the summer of 1951 Charles Olson had just returned to Black Mountain College from the Yucatan. That summer he taught a course called Writing. The class was held in the classroom in the Studies Building. Students sat around a large table which had been constructed by Mary 'Molly' Gregory. The "white blackboard" was considered an innovation at the time. There was no air conditioning and the open windows welcomed flying creatures and the night sounds of frogs, crickets and other creatures. The classes started after dinner and often lasted till dawn.   

Mary Emma Harris


STATEMENT BY TERI DICK MODLIN   

When I am asked what Black Mountain College was "really like," Iím quick to admit that I was there only about two weeks in the late summer of 1951.I had responded to a notice in the New York Times of a seminar on photography featuring Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, and Arthur Siegel. (I had been Editorial Assistant for the Universal Photo Almanac until January 1951, and these photographers were "greats.") I registered and arrived from New York City (by sleeper), fresh and on a ten-day leave from my job.

On my arrival I found Siegel and Siskind and Callahan had split the summer weeks, and only Callahan was there. There was no seminar and no alternative suggestion from Harry Callahan when I sought him out. However, this was not a completely unwelcome development.

In the 1951 Universal Photo Almanac, I had written a piece on photo series. The piece was praised and quoted which encouraged me. I looked forward to having the time and film to experiment with the series format in my work. I believe it is more lifelike than single unrelated pictures. In a series time moves more slowly and the pictures are even more informative than in film. 

Almost immediately I came upon Katherine Litz, the dancer and choreographer, practicing in the dining hall, and I began photographing her. On her break, she expressed her approval and asked if we could go outside for better light. Those passing observed what I was doing. This, along with the fact that I was about ten years older than most of the students, wearing a wedding band, and friendly though not a joiner, gave me some credibility with others in the community. I was allowed to shoot at will without anyone questioning or objecting to what I was doing. At Black Mountain one was seemingly free to practice ones art without interference.

 

 

 

  
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Mary Fitton Fiore
  Suzi Gablik
  Herb Roco  

 
 

  

 

  Victor Kalos  
Charles Olson   
Joel Oppenheimer  

 

 

    
  Victor Kalos
  Fielding Dawson
  Charles Olson
 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Harvey Harmon (?)  
Unidentified Person  
Joel Oppenheimer  
Nicholas Cernovich   

   

   

   Tim LaFarge
   Victor Kalos
   Mark Hedden
   Fielding Dawson

   

 



  Richard Jordan
  Richard Sherman

   
   
   

 

  
  Mark Hedden
  Fielding Dawson
  Charles Olson

   
   
    

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Williams  
  Mary Fitton Fiore
   

 
  

   

 

 

Suzi Gablik  

 

Photographs © Teri Dick Modlin