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Alvin W. Hall Jr.: Chromes Opening

The Bushwick Community Darkroom is pleased to present "Alvin W. Hall, Jr.: Chromes," an exhibition of color photographs from the personal archives of Alvin W. Hall, Jr., curated by Cameron Blaylock.

Throughout WWll and the decade that followed, the United States government trained a vast number of men and women in the technical aspects of photographic documentation. Alvin W. Hall, Jr., was one such individual.

Mr. Hall sought training and was employed by the Navy as a photographer after serving aboard the USS Quincy and participating in the invasion of Normandy. For fifteen years, Hall moved between naval stations across the world from Guam to Alaska; he documented rural and urban landscapes on black-and-white film with a large format view camera, and processed photographs made by spy planes on international operations.

In 1962, Hall transitioned from his government position, as Executive Officer of the United States Naval Photographic Center in Washington, D.C., to a variety of positions in the television industry. He served as president of Metro Kalvar, a developer of polyester-based black-and-white film for broadcast television, until the company was run out of business by the overwhelming popularity of color programming in the late 60’s. Hall finally settled with his family in Ridgefield, Connecticut, where he was employed as an insurance salesman until retirement.

Throughout his nomadic existence working as a photography professional, Hall maintained a parallel photographic practice: documenting the joys of parenthood and episodes of suburban life with his 35mm Petri camera on Kodachrome slides.

Alvin W. Hall, Jr., often spoke with his wife, Dorothy, about revisiting their color slides once they were retired and had time to do so. When Hall died in the spring of 2017, his grandson, Cameron Blaylock, found his vast archive of color photographs and carefully sifted through them.

In sharing this personal investigation into one grandfather’s off-duty relationship with photography, Blaylock provides a more general exploration into the underlying narratives of mid-century American society and the legacy of color photography.