Ray Ewing is a photographer and artist from the island of Martha's Vineyard. Ray received a BFA in photography from Maine College of Art in Portland in 2012 and an MFA in studio art at The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in 2016. He has worked as a photojournalist, commercial photographer, educator and an exhibiting artist. Ray is currently teaching photography at The College of The Desert as well as Miracosta College.
As a photojournalist, Ray has received multiple awards for his work with the Martha's Vineyard Gazette. His photographs have been published in Martha's Vineyard Magazine, Edible Vineyard, The Cape Cod Times, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. As an artist, Ray has been a part of multiple national and international group exhibitions as well as four solo shows entitled The Ancient World in America, Visual Stimulus and FAUXASIS.
Above: Vacation With Friends, 2019, silver gelatin print, 16 x 20 in
This group of images represents the beginnings of an extended, research-based project concerning my father and his time in Japan in the 1970s. My father passed away in 1995 when I was quite young and I have always felt the main thing I lost was the chance to know him from an adult perspective. The retracing of his footsteps as a young man through a foreign land is an excuse for myself to build a fuller and more realized portrait of a man I only knew when I was a child. Through letters, postcards, and old photographs I am rebuilding a long-forgotten period of his life so that I may build a portrait of him, have a fight with it, and make amends all in the confines of the project. I feel that I can better see him through the lens of his interaction with a new place and culture. His mistakes, biases, and misunderstandings from 1973-74 are my truer window into a parent who I have only been given the most shining memories of.
The first phase of the project involved analyzing and re-contextualizing the photos, postcards, letters, and souvenirs he left behind. This has led to the second phase which involves making my own images in response to the new pieces of him that I am discovering. The third phase will involve returning to Japan to retrace his footsteps, meet the people he knew, and attempt to complete a portrait of him from the missing pieces still left there.
Text by Ray Ewing
Above: Tourist's Landscape on Souvenir Paper, 2019, silver gelatin print, 16 x 20 in; His Landscape in My Landscape, 2019, silver gelatin print, 16 x 20 in