Duncan Suzuki

Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Ratcliffe’s work reflects memories of Pulaski

RADFORD — Although photographic artist Bill Ratcliffe’s life is now centered in Radford, his roots in Pulaski still have a strong influence on his artwork.
The green George’s Cafe building, buildings along Main Street and even the home of one of his close childhood friends, all located in downtown Pulaski, make appearances in his latest series of photos.
Ratcliffe explained that these photos were all taken with a pinhole camera, then printed out and placed in different layers and panels onto a new canvas and covered with beeswax to achieve a less than perfect final image.
Ratcliffe said he chose this style because he wanted to portray the images as being similar to what one would see in their memories — slightly fuzzy and in bits and pieces — just as how he remembered the buildings from his childhood.
In addition to this series, which will serve as a portion of his master’s thesis at Radford University, Ratcliffe has created another group of photos focusing on simple household objects, particularly tools such as hammers and paintbrushes and even pocket knives.
“I’m fascinated by objects found in people’s houses,” Ratcliffe said. “I think it all goes back to a sense of home and childhood fascinations.”
However, people are subjects that rarely appear in Ratcliffe’s images. Ratcliffe said it is easy to use a person to set a mood in a photo, but he tends to bypass those human subjects and instead focuses on taking still life images of the objects that people have an effect on.
While Ratcliffe owns an expensive Canon Rebel camera, he rarely uses it, saying it’s “too nice,” and he believes that the images from his Mamiya camera are “too sharp.”
In contrast, he’s more comfortable operating his pinhole camera, or a Mercury II half-frame camera dated back to 1945, his $12 Holga or 75-cent toy cameras bought at thrift stores, and he prefers the beauty of the “soft, dream-like images” that they produce.
Ratcliffe said that he believes digital photography is very controlled, and, at times, he feels restrained in what he can do with it. Instead, he said he enjoys the “happy accidents” that can occur through the use of the different types of film cameras that he works with and believes that they “open up more possibilities.”
Ratcliffe said people have told him they find photography to be limited in possibilities, but he finds that to be untrue and said, “It’s so rich. Everyone seems to have cameras these days, so there are so many different views of the world to see. I find that fascinating.”
People have also described cameras and photos as being either mirrors that represent the photographer, or as windows into another world. As for Ratcliffe, he believes his photography serves as a mirror.
Ratcliffe’s interest in taking photos began at age 16 and continued to grow over the years to follow. He noted one of his biggest influence’s was and is his older brother, a photographer whose work still hangs on a wall inside Ratcliffe’s house.
After he graduated from Pulaski County High School, Ratcliffe worked at Pulaski Furniture, which he said served as great motivation for him to further his education, so he enrolled in classes at New River Community College.
Ratcliffe’s interest in art continued to develop but after he graduated from NRCC, he returned to factory work for a few more years before going back to school at RU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art. During his undergraduate studies at RU was when Ratcliffe really became more interested in photography, he said, noting that many of the early influences for his photography were painters, especially surrealist painters such as Salvador Dali.
Currently, Ratcliffe is working on his master’s degree in studio art at RU and should be finished next year.
“I’m much poorer these days, but I’m much happier,” Ratcliffe said.
Over the past few years, Ratcliffe has been involved with several local juried art shows, along with solo exhibitions in Radford and in galleries in North Carolina. He said the next show his artwork will be featured in will be related to his master’s thesis.
While attending RU, Ratcliffe has had the chance to teach several art appreciation courses, which he described as a “great experience.”
In the future, Ratcliffe’s dream is to teach photography at the college level. He said he enjoys being in an academic environment and being surrounded by new ideas and thoughts.

Ratcliffe’s work reflects memories of Pulaski

RADFORD — Although photographic artist Bill Ratcliffe’s life is now centered in Radford, his roots in Pulaski still have a strong influence on his artwork.
The green George’s Cafe building, buildings along Main Street and even the home of one of his close childhood friends, all located in downtown Pulaski, make appearances in his latest series of photos.
Ratcliffe explained that these photos were all taken with a pinhole camera, then printed out and placed in different layers and panels onto a new canvas and covered with beeswax to achieve a less than perfect final image.
Ratcliffe said he chose this style because he wanted to portray the images as being similar to what one would see in their memories — slightly fuzzy and in bits and pieces — just as how he remembered the buildings from his childhood.
In addition to this series, which will serve as a portion of his master’s thesis at Radford University, Ratcliffe has created another group of photos focusing on simple household objects, particularly tools such as hammers and paintbrushes and even pocket knives.
“I’m fascinated by objects found in people’s houses,” Ratcliffe said. “I think it all goes back to a sense of home and childhood fascinations.”
However, people are subjects that rarely appear in Ratcliffe’s images. Ratcliffe said it is easy to use a person to set a mood in a photo, but he tends to bypass those human subjects and instead focuses on taking still life images of the objects that people have an effect on.
While Ratcliffe owns an expensive Canon Rebel camera, he rarely uses it, saying it’s “too nice,” and he believes that the images from his Mamiya camera are “too sharp.”
In contrast, he’s more comfortable operating his pinhole camera, or a Mercury II half-frame camera dated back to 1945, his $12 Holga or 75-cent toy cameras bought at thrift stores, and he prefers the beauty of the “soft, dream-like images” that they produce.
Ratcliffe said that he believes digital photography is very controlled, and, at times, he feels restrained in what he can do with it. Instead, he said he enjoys the “happy accidents” that can occur through the use of the different types of film cameras that he works with and believes that they “open up more possibilities.”
Ratcliffe said people have told him they find photography to be limited in possibilities, but he finds that to be untrue and said, “It’s so rich. Everyone seems to have cameras these days, so there are so many different views of the world to see. I find that fascinating.”
People have also described cameras and photos as being either mirrors that represent the photographer, or as windows into another world. As for Ratcliffe, he believes his photography serves as a mirror.
Ratcliffe’s interest in taking photos began at age 16 and continued to grow over the years to follow. He noted one of his biggest influence’s was and is his older brother, a photographer whose work still hangs on a wall inside Ratcliffe’s house.
After he graduated from Pulaski County High School, Ratcliffe worked at Pulaski Furniture, which he said served as great motivation for him to further his education, so he enrolled in classes at New River Community College.
Ratcliffe’s interest in art continued to develop but after he graduated from NRCC, he returned to factory work for a few more years before going back to school at RU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art. During his undergraduate studies at RU was when Ratcliffe really became more interested in photography, he said, noting that many of the early influences for his photography were painters, especially surrealist painters such as Salvador Dali.
Currently, Ratcliffe is working on his master’s degree in studio art at RU and should be finished next year.
“I’m much poorer these days, but I’m much happier,” Ratcliffe said.
Over the past few years, Ratcliffe has been involved with several local juried art shows, along with solo exhibitions in Radford and in galleries in North Carolina. He said the next show his artwork will be featured in will be related to his master’s thesis.
While attending RU, Ratcliffe has had the chance to teach several art appreciation courses, which he described as a “great experience.”
In the future, Ratcliffe’s dream is to teach photography at the college level. He said he enjoys being in an academic environment and being surrounded by new ideas and thoughts.