Howard's Photos --
My father, Howard Stephens, did not live into the 1990's. One of the passions in his life was the creation of photographs purely for the enjoyment of manipulating a piece of film or some photographic paper, through many darkroom techniques, until he molded them into something that did not exist before; a unique graphic interpretation of a person, place or thing.

He spent the last 40 years of his life engaged in some form of photography, either as a profession or as a sidelight, never seeming to tire of the transformation of an idea into a showable, hangable, reality.

On this page are several representative images from his last ten years and a brief explaination describing why I chose to include them in this retrospective.

One of the things that dad enjoyed doing was experimenting with different methods of producing images. The image of the indian represents a technique that, as far as I know, he developed. It started out as a 35mm negative that was enlargeded onto 8x10 film to produce a transparent positive.

That positive actually has paint applied to the back of the it to acheive the surrealistic look. The huge transparency then is sandwiched with colored paper to obtain the 'see-through' look.

The photo of the cross looses a lot in conversion to a digital format, but the original is rich in black tones and yet the white of the marble does not loose detail.

Dad was a master printer and would sometimes make a dozen or more prints until he reached the exact effect he was after.

This image is done with a process which was popular around the turn of the century. Howard 'revived ' it and had a display of his photos using this technique in a local art gallery.

The process is similar to the process that is used now for making blueprints and, in fact, the original images are blue in color and are printed on very rough, porous paper.

This image is similar to the one above. Dad went through a period of a decade where he made many prints using this technique.

I am certain that if he were alive today he would have progressed into the computer era and would have a high-end digital imaging system, dye sublimation printers, and would have perfected the 'old' techniques using today's tools.

My father had a real love for jazz . He grew up during the era of the big bands and he also had a fondness for that style of music. The clarinet player (Woody Herman) was photographed at Southwestern College, where dad worked.

Dad was instrumental (no pun intended) in getting the college's cultural arts board to invite many jazz players and dixieland bands to the campus for concerts.

The image of the leaf is one of the few that he ever did in color. It required making a contact print of the leaf, obtaining a paper negative from that, and using that paper negative for the final image which he toned using some special concoction.

He tried to explain to me once how he mixed various compounds to make his toners, but I don't remember all of the details. I wish I had paid better attention!

The roof of the Alva, OK., train station was first treated as a high contrast image, then the red-tile coloring was hand-paianted onto the final print.
Four old men, sitting in front of the local tavern, was all that Howard needed to provoke his photo instinct. They are all oblivious of his presence, caught up in their own daydreaming.
This photo of my mother, Betty, is one of my father's favorites. Dad shot it during one of our many vacations to Minnesota during the mid 1950's. Mom had just caught a fish and was proudly displaying it. I have included this image because my mother was just as important to me as my dad. I miss them both.

If you have gotten this far, please e-mail me and let me know. I am producing this page with the expectations of zero hits, but if you are reading it, there must be a reason for your visit.