Searching For Home

Edward J. Sozanski

The Philadelphia Inquirer

2003, FEB. 21

Searching for home. Folk wisdom tells us we can’t go home again, yet in his new body of work, photographer Ron Tarver tries to do exactly that.

His series of black-and-white prints at the Sande Webster Gallery, titled “Homesteads,” represents Tarver’s attempt to capture “the notion of home.”
He says that the houses, barns, churches, and other small rural structures he photographed “represent the unique and universal idea of home and hopefully suggest emotions of joy, sorrow, hope, and loneliness.”
This is an ambitious agenda, but Tarver, an Inquirer staff photographer, pulls it off sometimes, through a combination of artful composition and technical manipulation.
He photographs buildings frontally, but adds distancing by sitting them in the middle ground or even deep background. Showing the houses and barns surrounded by fields stresses their connection to the land.
Tarver romanticizes his straightforward images by printing them in high contrast, and with a slightly fuzzy focus. A white church against a nearly black background glows luminously, conveying the idea that the pictures are about more than mere buildings.