After the Fire, late 1950s-late 1960s


George Harvan began a project in the late 1950s in which he would walk along the banks of the Lehigh River and photograph rocks along the river's edge. First exhibited at as "Stone Faces," the exhibit was positively received by New York Times photography critic, Jacob Deschin, in an unsigned review, November 17, 1963. Here's how Deschin described the project:

"An original variation of the photographic pastime of discovering human likenesses in stone is on display through next Sunday at the Kodak Exhibit Center in Grand Central Terminal. The pictures are by George Harvan. . . . Being extremely observant and imaginative, and with a gentle sense of humor, he finds that nature's subtler strokes and carvings can be almost as clever and revealing as man's. . . . Rocks washed up on the shore in Pennsylvania's Lehigh River Valley provide Mr. Harvan with these odd chunks of subject matter. Using a 35mm camera at close range, he depends on soft afternoon illumination at appropriate angles to point up dents, gouges, and lines created by the elements. The results are caricature facsimiles of human and animal expressions that range from quiet emotion to snarling rage."

Over the next decade, however, this project began to take on new meaning for Harvan, and the photos appeared in an exhibit at Cedar Crest College in Allentown in 1974 under a new title, "After the Fire." In the accompanying slide show, Thomas Dublin reads George Harvan's description of how the meaning of his photos changed over time and a poem he wrote to accompany the photos.