Here are a couple samples from her Kitchen Table series (1990) that I found on Flickr.
I don’t have her exact quote in front of me but she said something about following and learning from the work of photographers like Walker Evans whose work demonstrated a preference for exposures in the Zone 5-10 range.
I confess that I do not know what the Zone system referred to, so off to Google, and off to a rabbit hole of research.
Breaking it down simply – if I am right – Zone 5 is perfect exposure, and Zone 1-5 is under exposed and Zone 5-10 is over-exposed. Kind of simple, but effective. Supposedly Ansel Adams (and another photographer?) were trying to define the range of expression and nuance available in black and white photography and came up with the zone system.
Hearing that Carrie Mae Weems valued the work of Walker Evans in the Zone 5-10 range, and through some research of his images, I found that was a style of photography that I didn’t find myself shooting in, I challenged myself to shoot some images in this style. I jumped into the monochrome section of the Fuji X Weekly app and found one called Monochrome Negative that loaned itself to lighter exposures that were consistent with the Zone 5-10 images of Walker Evans.
And so, by listening to a photographer I admired who listened to a photographer she admired, I entered a new place to explore the art.
Here are of few of my favorite photos taken with this film recipe.