The Photography of

Frank Cancian

All the photographs and texts are copyrighted

Faced with Fixing Shadow's request for a statement about my goals as a photographer, I learned that I have no overall vision of my photography. But I can say what I do, and how and where I like to take pictures. My favorite places are those where people do their regular activities: homes, workplaces and temples.. It's best when people know me and know that I am there to take pictures, or when a person they know vouches for me or blesses my project. In these settings people usually get bored with me after an hour or two, and go back to their own activities. Public places are also good.

I am a documentary photographer with a point of view. I prefer ordinary things - things that are not officially important. Forty-some years ago when I was a reporter in a small-town office of a New England city newspaper, I was assigned to get a picture of a woman who had been involved with two men - two men who, because of the triangle, had just become a killer and his victim. That remains my least favorite experience as a photographer. Making the apparently exotic ordinary and the ordinary a little exotic appeals to me more.

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My passion for photography began as a teenager in the late 1940s. In the intervening years my work as an anthropologist has often taken over for months or years at a time. I've done four big projects, including one that is going on now, and a few smaller ones. The Zinacantan pictures here are one of the big projects, the waiting pictures one of the small ones.

Frank Cancian
August 2002

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