George A. Tice is an American photographer, best known for his meticulously crafted black and white prints in silver gelatin and platinum, as well as his books, which depict a broad range of American life, landscape, and urban environment, mostly photographed in his native New Jersey, where he has lived all his life, except for his service in the U. S. Navy, a brief period in California, a fellowship in the United Kingdom, and summer workshops in Maine, where he taught at the Maine Photographic Workshops, now the Maine Media Workshops. George A. Tice, born in Newark, New Jersey, October 13, 1938, was the son of a college-educated New Jerseyan, William S. Tice, and Margaret Robertson, a Traveller of Irish, Scottish, and Welsh stock with a fourth grade education. George was raised by his mother, maintaining regular visiting contact with his father, whose influence and advice he valued highly.
His first contact with photography was in the albums of family photographs belonging to his father, and this gave him the desire to create images of his own. He began with a Kodak
Brownie. In 1953, having bought a Kodak Pony, which gave him some control over exposure and focus, and a Kodak developing kit, he began to advance his craft. He also joined the Carteret Camera Club. George Tice's photographs of homeless men on the Bowery won second place in the black and white print competitions. He decided at this point to make photography his career.
In 1955 he attended the Newark Vocational and Technical High School, where he briefly studied commercial photography under Harve Wobbe. When he turned sixteen, he quit school and took a job as a darkroom assistant for Classic Photo, a portrait studio in Newark. He also worked as a stock boy at Kreske's Department Store in Newark, then as an office boy in the circulation department of the Newark Evening News. It was at this job he learned about the death of the actor James Dean through a clipping about his death. Tice later adopted Dean as one of his subjects in Hometowns: An American Pilgrimage.
In 1956 Tice enlisted in the United States Navy, in which he rose to the rank of Photographer's Mate Third Class. After boot camp and two years at Naval Air Station Memphis, he was transferred to sea duty aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Wasp (CV-18). One of the photographs he made on board, Explosion Aboard the U.S.S. Wasp, 1959, was published on the front page of the New York Times
. Edward Steichen
, then Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art
, was struck by the image and requested a print for the Museum collection. In that same year Tice received his honorable discharge.
George Tice is drawn to vestiges of American culture on the verge of extinction-from people in rural or small-town communities to suburban buildings and neighborhoods that are often in decline. Although he has photographed throughout the Northwestern United States, he is best known for pictures of his native New Jersey, and the impeccable quality of his black-and-white prints.
In the 1960s, Tice shifted from smaller camera formats to larger ones, which enabled him to craft carefully toned and detailed prints. He portrayed traditional Amish and Shaker communities, as well as the hard lives of fishermen in Maine. In the 1970s, Tice began exploring his home state. Those photographs formed the beginnings of his Urban Landscapes
series, which he worked on until the year 2000. His publications include: Fields of Peace: A Pennsylvania German Album
(1970), Paterson, New Jersey
(1972), Seacoast Maine: People and Places
(1973), Urban Landscapes: A New Jersey Portrait
(1975), and Hometowns: An American Pilgrimage
(1988). Tice has taught at the Maine Photographic Workshops since 1977.
Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum
By 1970, thanks in part to shows and sales of his work through Witkin
, Tice was able to concentrate entirely on his own photography. The extended photographic essay is an important part of Tice’s work. The form and process of each project is an investigation leading to a book. Tice taught a master class at The New School, NYC and the Maine Media Workshop for over twenty-five years.
Tice has had eighteen books published to date. His first book Fields of Peace
, documented the life of Amish and Mennonite communities of Pennsylvania. In the late 1960’s, Tice began exploring his home state and those photographs formed the beginnings of two of his best-known books: Urban Landscapes, A New Jersey Portrait
, (1975) and Paterson
, (1972), with sequels, George Tice : Urban Landscapes in 2002
, Common Mementos
in 2005 and Paterson II
in 2006. One of his most recent book Seldom Seen
(2013) is a collection of previously unpublished photographs. James Rhem states in an article in Focus Magazine, “The stillness in what Tice himself describes as the “sad beauty” of his urban scenes has a different weight, the weight of history, not moments, but stories evolving.”
His photographs have been exhibited internationally and are represented in the collections of many institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago
, The J. Paul Getty Museum
, Whitney Museum of Art
, Newark Museum and the The Bibliothèque nationale de France
. He has received fellowships and commissions from the Guggenheim Foundation
, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the National Media Museum, (UK). In 2003, he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from William Paterson University.
Tice, a 10th generation New Jerseyan, makes his home on the Jersey Shore.
Source: The Lucie Awards