Judith Ann Moriarty

Ford shoots friends

By - Oct 15th, 2009 08:52 am
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Photographer Jim Brozek

Francis Ford wolfed down a bowl of soup in the café below his studio/living space on Water Street. He was famished, having just shot Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. However, the highly photogenic sheriff emerged unscathed; the weapon of choice was a digital Nikon.

“Clarke’s image won’t be in my Life Boat show at Cedar Gallery,” Ford observed, “but 60 of my closest friends will.” The results will be exhibited in a 16-by-20 inch black-and-white format. Ninety-five percent of the subjects are male, but that aside, all of the images are of faithful souls brought aboard to share a life boat with Ford. His excellent images (he also teaches at MIAD) will enliven one hundred feet on two floors of the Cedar Gallery, location at 326 N. Water. The boat floats between 5 and 10 p.m. on Gallery Night, Oct. 16.

The ages of Ford’s subjects range upward from the mid-40s to wizened folks around for seven-plus decades. Fortunately, no one expired during preparations for the show. A dear Ford friend, Jack Eigel, recently had an intricate heart transplant (his original heart being on the opposite side of where it should have been), and Ford photographed him both before and after the surgical ordeal. Henry Duga was photographed simply because he and Ford raced go-karts in the dim ’60s. In 1979, Ford lived in a building on St. Paul Street that went up in flames. Lucky for him, his friend John Andrews shouted a warning, and everyone escaped. Naturally, Andrews was selected to climb aboard the life boat, along with actors, artists, business people, architects, musicians, carpenters, and well, all manner of Homo sapiens who count themselves as the photographer’s friends. Among them is Mary Krimmer, owner of Soups On. She made the soup Ford ate when I interviewed him. 

Soprano Victoria Benson

Soprano Victoria Benson

If all of this sounds like a love feast for geezers …. it is. You have until Dec. 5 to view the work of a major and much-loved guy who has survived long enough to know a ship filled with friends is the best of all possible worlds.

He’s way more than an ordinary photographer with a digital Nikon.


Performance artist TJ Richter

The Life Boat show
Francis Ford
Oct. 16 – Dec. 5
Cedar Gallery
326 N. Water St., Third Ward
Wednesday – Saturday, 1—5 p.m.

Categories: Art, Arts & Culture

0 thoughts on “Ford shoots friends”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Having read this piece about Ford’s Life Boat Show, I can only wish that I could be there to float out among the chosen few. Best wishes to the talented Francis Ford.

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