Posts Tagged ‘Al Weber’

Philip Hyde in “Ansel Adams: Before and After” at the Booth Western Art Museum

December 15th, 2015

Ansel Adams Before and After

Exhibition at the Booth Western Art Museum

Over 400 People Attended the SOLD OUT Opening Reception…

Aspens, San Miguel River, San Juan Rockies, Colorado, 1974 by Philip Hyde. One of the images Lumiere is showing as part of the Lumiere Holiday Collection. The other two Philip Hyde photographs shown as part of the online exhibition are "Virginia Creeper, Northern Sierra Nevada, California, 1977" and "Mt. Denali, Reflection Pond, Denali National Park, Alaska, 1971."

Aspens, San Miguel River, San Juan Rockies, Colorado, 1974 by Philip Hyde. Courtesy of Lumiere Gallery.

In 2010, the second largest museum in Georgia, the Booth Western Art Museum, hosted an exhibition called Ansel Adams: A Legacy. This show attained a new milestone in attendance and helped the Booth establish creative photography as an important part of its future with the associated creation of the Booth Photography Guild.

The Booth Western Art Museum, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute Museums in Washington DC, now presents a new exhibition, Ansel Adams: Before and After, which has already set new precedents in several ways. The outside marketing and publicity by photographers, galleries and other associates for Ansel Adams: Before and After was dark for the first 30 days. The Booth wanted to see how its own community would respond to museum originated outreach.

From the show text:

Exhibition Opening Reception and Lecture SOLD OUT!
On Saturday, November 14, 2015, over 400 people sat in awe of Dr. Michael Adams, son of legendary photographer, Ansel Adams, as he gave the keynote speech for the opening of Ansel Adams: Before and After. Many of the attendees had the opportunity to hear from contemporary photographers Cara Weston and Bob Kolbrener, who are both highlighted in the exhibition.

The Booth Western Art Museum sold $10.00 tickets to the show opening and could not fit any more people into the facility. The Booth written materials also refer to Ansel Adams as the most recognized name in photography. Ansel Adams is not only the most recognized name in photography, but the most recognized western photographer in Georgia and other southern and eastern states. The new Booth show is helping to change that though because besides exhibiting more than 25 original photographs by Ansel Adams, the more than 100 total works in the show “represent 24 photographers who influenced Ansel Adams, worked at the same time as his peers, or are contemporary artists and professional image makers who have been influenced by his legacy.”

The Influence of Ansel Adams

Ansel Adam’s influence on the entire medium of photography continues to show up in imagery today. Furthermore, those who worked with him cite him as one of their most significant influences. Having co-founded with Beaumont Newhall the world’s first photography department in a major museum at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and having founded the first photography department in an art school to teach creative photography as a full-time profession at the California School of Fine Art, now the San Francisco Art Institute, Ansel Adams with more students than any other photographer in history, has influenced photography more than any other single photographer.

The exhibition also shows how photographers influenced by Ansel Adams, such as Philip Hyde, have influenced others. Ansel Adams was a teacher of teachers. “Aspens, San Miguel River, Rocky Mountains, Colorado” by Philip Hyde shows Ansel Adams’ influence, while “Spot Lit Trees II, Yosemite, California” by Robert Weingarten is reminiscent of Philip Hyde’s aspen image. Considering that Philip Hyde led some of the earliest color Ansel Adams Workshops and Robert Weingarten participated as a student and a teacher in his own right with the Ansel Adams Workshops, these and other influences had plenty of fertile opportunities to develop.

How Modernism Began in Photography

Curators and art critics have called Edward Weston the father of modern photography. As co-founder of Group f64 with Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham and Dorothea Lange, also part of the current Booth exhibit Ansel Adams: Before and After, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams were the spiritual leaders of the group whose members found themselves all moving away from pictorialism around the same time in the early 1930s. In the early part of the 20th Century, photographers practicing pictorialism using various techniques in lighting and soft focus and other effects to make photographs look like paintings with the intent that photography would be accepted as art and shown in museums and galleries.

With the striking example of the clean, crisp, sharp focused throughout, naturally lit images of Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz vocally abandoned pictorialism and embraced realism. He had the financial resources and influence in the arts to support like-minded photographers like those in Group f64 in California. Group f64, Stieglitz and Strand pioneered the modernist aesthetic in photography. Nature, natural objects, simple nudes, scenes of everyday life and people portrayed as they were found became the subjects and these were given space to breathe in compositions. Photography trailed behind some of the other arts in transitioning to modernism, but Encyclopedia Britannica defines well the rise of this revolution in the arts overall:

Modernism in the arts is a radical break with the past and the concurrent search for new forms of expression. Modernism fostered a period of experimentation in the arts from the 19th to the mid-20th Century, particularly in the years following World War I. In an era characterized by industrialization, rapid social change, and advances in science and the social sciences, Modernists felt a growing alienation incompatible with Victorian morality, optimism, and convention. New ideas in psychology, philosophy and political theory kindled a search for new modes of expression.

Photographs on Display in the Show

Ansel Adams: Before and After progresses chronologically through the work of Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz, Group f64, then later contemporaries and early protégés of Ansel Adams such as Brett Weston, Cole Weston, Philip Hyde, Pirkle Jones, Al Weber, Bob Kolbrener and Brett Weston’s daughter Cara Weston, who knew Ansel Adams growing up. Finally, contemporary photographers in the show who were influenced by Ansel Adams include Robert Weingarten, Julieanne Kost, Rex Naden, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Peter Essick, John Mariana, Jay Dusard, Tim Barnwell and others. The exhibition contains two to four photographs by each photographer.

The three photographs in the show by Philip Hyde are “Aspens, San Miguel River, Rocky Mountains, Colorado,” “Great Overhang, Moqui Canyon, Glen Canyon, Utah” and “Marble Gorge, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona,” all by courtesy of Lumiere Gallery. Philip Hyde made “Great Overhang, Moqui Canyon” in 1964, the year Glen Canyon Dam began to back up “Lake” Powell. “Marble Gorge, Grand Canyon” appeared in the book Navajo Wildlands in the Sierra Club Exhibit Format Series, started by Ansel Adams, Nancy Newhall and David Brower, that popularized the coffee table photography book. This series more than any other photography books, exhibited the new look of modernism in photography and helped in the campaigns to make many of America’s national parks.

Welcome to the Booth Western Art Museum

The Booth Western Art Museum is the ideal venue for Ansel Adams: Before and After, offering plenty of space for such an overwhelmingly popular show and accompanying series of lectures. Besides the SOLD OUT Opening Reception and Lecture, on Saturday January 9, 2016, the Booth will host a Workshop and Evening Lecture with  on how Ansel Adams might have used Photoshop. On Saturday, January 23, 2016, contemporary photographers featured in the exhibition will participate in a Symposium with Scholars. Details of the four sessions of this event are below.

The Booth Western Art Museum, opened in August 2003, is the only museum of its kind in the Southeast. With its 120,000 square foot building, The Booth houses the largest permanent exhibition space for Western American art in the country. Permanent galleries include: American West Gallery, Cowboy Gallery, Face of the West, Heading West, The Modern West, Sagebrush Ranch, James and Carolyn Millar Presidential Gallery, War is Hell, and a two-story Sculpture Court. There is also a Temporary Exhibition Gallery, a Special Exhibition Gallery and the Bergman Theatre Lobby Gallery, as well as two theaters, a café, a ballroom, museum store, a reference library and one of only two glass elevators in the country with historical balance weights.

Ongoing Related Events and Activities

Exhibition Opening Reception and Lecture SOLD OUT! (Over 400 people attended.)
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Dr. Michael Adams, son of Ansel Adams

Workshop and Evening Lecture
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Ms. Julieanne Kost, Adobe Systems, Inc.

Symposium with Scholars and Photographers in the Exhibition
Saturday, January 23, 2016

Opening Session: The People Behind the Pictures
Bob Yellowlees, moderator and Meg Partridge, photography scholar and filmmaker

Second Session: Archiving Americana a Face at a Time
Seth Hopkins, moderator, photographers Jay Dusard and Tim Barnwell

Third Session: Landscape Photography and Public Policy
Seth Hopkins with photographers Bob Kolbrener, Peter Essick and Robert Glenn Ketchum

Fourth Session: Photography in the 21st Century
Bob Yellowlees with photographers Rex Naden and John Mariana

The Booth Western Art Museum
501 Museum Drive
Cartersville, Georgia  30120
770-387-1300
www.boothmuseum.org

Telephone Fun With Al Weber

September 20th, 2011

Aerial, Commercial and Landscape Photographer Al Weber With Some Observations About The Telephone

About Al Weber…

Aerial Of San Rafael Swell, Utah copyright Al Weber.

Al Weber taught photography at the Ansel Adams Gallery workshops for many years. He also taught photography through the University of California Santa Cruz Extension along with Philip Hyde, Wynn Bullock, Dick Arentz, Dave Bohn, Wynn Hutchings and many others. Al Weber also ran his own popular photography workshops for many decades, the reunions of which are now called the Photographer’s Rendezvous and are well attended. The Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, California, recently held an exhibition of Al Weber’s aerial photography and published a 56 page catalog of the event. Al Weber has been exhibited in over 200 prominent venues world wide. He fondly recalls when his friend Philip Hyde attended the Rendezvous or when he ran into Philip Hyde in the field in some lonely place like the East Side of the Sierra Nevada, maybe somewhere near Bishop, Lee Vining or Mono Lake. Al Weber was one of the instigators of the photographic element of the Save Mono Lake Project called At Mono Lake. Al Weber’s biography on the Lumiere Gallery website gives more particulars:

 Al Weber was born in Denver Colorado in 1930. He received an A.A. in photography and a B.A. in Eduction from the University of Denver and served as a Captain in the Marines during the Korean Conflict. After his military service he moved to the Monterey Peninsula and established himself as a commercial photograph. Weber’s career spans six decades. He is internationally recognized for the breadth of his work and contributions as a teacher and mentor. Weber’s images have been shown in over 200 exhibitions. An accomplished commercial photographer, his commissions include work for Time-Life, Fortune and Holiday magazines. Corporate clients include Dupont, Kaiser, International Harvester, Eastman Kodak, Polaroid and Hasselblad. His photographs are in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, M. H. de Young Museum, UCLA, Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the Ansel Adams Collection.

With a wry sense of humor, Al Weber is not a big talker, but he knows how to sip a good drink and tell a story. In his newsletter that he calls the “Stare Network,” Al Weber is also good at poking fun at what needs poking fun at. Here’s an original piece by Al Weber originally published in his newsletter:

The Telephone

By Al Weber

 My daughter-in-law, Sara, was talking on her cell phone as I walked into the living room. From there into the dining room, a distance of 20 feet, was my son, Robert, sitting at the table and also talking on his phone. They were talking to each other.

At the airport in El Paso, a group of teenagers sat nearby in the waiting area. They were talking to each other on their cell phones.

Approaching Winnemucca, Nevada on Interstate 80, already driving substantially above the speed limit, a car passed me. They were really hauling. The driver was on his cell phone.

In line at the post office, John Livingstone was talking on his phone. He didn’t really need a phone as everyone in the building could hear him.

Cruising the aisles in Safeway, a man blocked others as he got instructions, via his phone, on which brand of tomatoes to buy.

On TV, a man dressed in blue jeans with no belt and wearing a T-shirt introduced a new electronic gadget at a San Francisco trade show. I’m told he is a genius. His name is Jobs. Now I’m told his gadget is faulty. What do you expect from someone who dresses like that? Twelve weeks at Parris Island might straighten him out (Marine boot camp).

Growing up in Denver, I remember our telephone. It quietly sat there on a recessed shelf by the front door. It rang a few times each week. Someone always answered it. Today, rarely do I reach a real person when I place a call. Push this or push that. They’re always out or on the other line. “Your call is very important to us…..” If it’s so important, why don’t you just answer the phone?

Of all the people who should be competent with a telephone, AT&T seems obvious. My darkroom phone quit and Suzie called for service. The Keystone Cops or maybe the Marx Brothers couldn’t be funnier. Almost an hour of press this or press that, then several hang-ups and finally a recording offering a repair man in 5 days, who would arrive somewhere between 8AM and 8PM.

No one, it seems has one telephone. They’re all over the house. And then there is ‘Call Waiting’ and blocked numbers and on and on.

We live in a frenzy dominated by telephones. The time wasted, just waiting for that call back, is maddening. The advertisement says, “Just ask your doctor”. Who are they kidding? The cardiologist I go to may be very smart when it comes to fixing my body, but he can’t seem to figure out how to use a telephone. Neither can his receptionist.

The only people skilled in telephone use are the marketers, always at mealtime of course.

It appears this man Jobs contributes mightily to our plight, our uncontrollable attraction to a complicated, expensive device that has become more of a toy than a tool. But it’s so magnetic, and the colors are so cool. There are so many functions and it makes us feel so hip. I’d like to suggest one more function to Mr. Jobs. Bring back the reliability of the old telephones.

Learn More…

Listen to excerpts of Al Weber’s Gallery Talk. For more Al Weber images, view his Lumiere Gallery Artist’s Page. To read more about Ansel Adams Gallery Workshops see the blog post, “Photography Workshops Taught By Philip Hyde.”

Lumiere Gallery Holiday Collection

December 15th, 2010

While Driving Innovation The Lumiere Gallery of Atlanta Positions Philip Hyde Photographs First In Its Special Online Holiday Exhibition

Aspens, San Miguel River, San Juan Rockies, Colorado, 1974 by Philip Hyde. One of the images Lumiere is showing as part of the Lumiere Holiday Collection. The other two Philip Hyde photographs shown as part of the online exhibition are "Virginia Creeper, Northern Sierra Nevada, California, 1977" and "Mt. Denali, Reflection Pond, Denali National Park, Alaska, 1971."

Robert Yellowlees, former board member of Aperture Foundation, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and the Woodruff Arts Center, a number of years ago turned his 35 year love of collecting photography into a full-time gallery named Lumiere, now one of Atlanta’s most prominent and luxurious. Take a virtual gallery tour of Lumiere here. Robert Yellowlees has transitioned into the gallery from a 40 year business career centered on the computer and information industries, including pioneering work with image processing technologies. Lumiere Gallery since sponsored a number of programs, books and films designed to advance the understanding and appreciation of photography.

The city of Atlanta has also cultivated the appreciation of photography. For 12 years Atlanta has held a city-wide event called Atlanta Celebrates Photography. The Atlanta Celebrates Photography website explains, “Each October, Atlanta is transformed by over 150 photo-related exhibitions and events, including a core of Atlanta Celebrates Photography programs hosted by a diverse network of venues across the Atlanta metro area.” The events held during the 2010 festival are listed in the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival Guide (pdf). The backbone of Atlanta Celebrates Photography’s annual festival are its programs, nearly all of which are free and open to the public. Programs include a photography auction, Atlanta Celebrates Photography Collaborations, the Film Series, Greenhouse, Knowledge Series, Lecture Series, My Atlanta, Public Art Program, Portfolio Review and Walk, Spotlight Series and many others. The Festival Guide provides a sense of the ongoing dialog about “sweeping changes in the way we capture, view and consider images” today and into the future:

Omnipresent and constantly evolving, photography shapes our global perspective while quietly capturing the defining moments of our personal lives. Does the popularity of photography and its technological revolution lessen the impact of the images we see? Or has the ever-deeper, revelatory nature of photography grown more potent? This is a fascinating period in the history of photography. With so many images being produced, the competition for connection with a viewing audience is intense. All photographers are asking new and difficult questions about the nature of the medium. Is photography teaching us to view life from a thousand angles at once? Will we become numb and over-saturated, or invigorated and enlightened? In the past, photography has been clearly defined into categories such as documentary, landscape, vernacular, and commercial, for example. Brought on by the explosion of new photographers, and the increasing interest in the image, photography’s identity crisis is writ-large, as photographers revel in cross-pollination and re-appropriation of genres. This is exciting new territory for the image maker and image viewer.

The Lumiere Gallery is out in front of the innovation with its lecture series on collecting photography presented online, as well as other inventions that bring the collecting of photography more solidly into the online realm. Lumiere Gallery exhibitions are shown online as well as in the gallery and a significant portion of sales are at least partially transacted online.

The latest online event is the Lumiere Holiday Collection. The Lumiere Holiday Collection is “an exhibition highlighting a specially selected collection of photographs with holiday giving in mind.” This exclusively online exhibition features landscape photography including, in order, the work of Philip Hyde, Tim Barnwell, Jon Kolkin, Wynn Bullock, Peter Essick, Bob Kolbrenner, Tom Murphy, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Imogen Cunningham and Al Weber.

Lumiere Gallery Holiday Collection

Online December 3 – December 23, 2010

Lumiere Gallery
The Galleries of Peachtree Hills
425 Peachtree Hills Avenue, Suite 29B
Atlanta, Georgia   30305
404-261-6100

Colorado Environmental Film Festival

October 20th, 2010

2nd Annual

Environmental Photography Exhibition

6:00 pm, November 5, 2010

At The 5th Annual

Colorado Environmental Film Festival

American Mountaineering Center

710 10th Street, Suite 101, Golden, Colorado

David Leland Hyde Will Kick Off The Environmental Photography Exhibition With A One Hour Talk Called:

Philip Hyde And The First Environmental Photography

6:00 pm, Friday November 5, Foss Auditorium

After photography school under Ansel Adams, Philip Hyde
made the majority of photographs for the first book ever
published for an environmental cause “This Is Dinosaur” edited
by Wallace Stegner. Philip Hyde’s son David will share stories
from his father’s 58 years in activist landscape photography and
the role of his work in the preservation of National Treasures
Such As The Grand Canyon, The California Redwoods,
The North Cascades, Dinosaur National Monument and Others.

One of the few environmental film festivals in the nation, the Colorado Environmental Film Festival’s mission is “to inspire, educate and motivate audiences,” says the Colorado Environmental Film Festival’s media materials. “We hope to provide an experience for our audiences that goes beyond just passive film viewing: we aim to inspire our audiences into awareness and action.”

The Colorado Environmental Film Festival arranges for open discussions related to the films, either with filmmakers or with experts on the film’s topic. The Colorado Environmental Film Festival shows national and international films and highlights the work of local filmmakers. Also, mentoring and a filmmaking forum on Saturday, November 6, cultivate interest in environmental film making.

Colorado Environmental Film Festival Front Building. The Colorado Mountain Club is generously hosting the Colorado Environmental Film Festival at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, Colorado, November 4-6, 2010.

This fifth year, the Colorado Environmental Film Festival will show 45 films over three days from November 4-6. The films are from six countries and 16 states and range from two minutes to just under two hours. Five of the productions are from Colorado. “This year there are more international films,” said Shawna Crocker, director and founder of the Colorado Environmental Film Festival and environmental educator for the Colorado State Forest Service. Shawna Crocker explained that she and a few colleagues started the Colorado Environmental Film Festival when she came back from attending an environmental film festival in Washington D.C. and realized that such an event in Colorado could help broaden the reach of local environmental education.

The Films

The Colorado Environmental Film Festival will start on Thursday, November 4 at 6:00 pm mountain time with a Kick Off Celebration followed at 7:00 pm by the showing of this year’s featured film, Play Again:

Play Again investigates the consequences of a childhood removed from nature and asks “What are we missing when we’re behind screens?” At a time when children spend more time in the virtual world than the natural world, Play Again unplugs a group of media
savvy teens and takes them on their first wilderness adventure, documenting the wonder that comes from time spent in nature and inspiring action for a sustainable future.

The producer of Play Again will attend the Kick Off Celebration and lead discussion after the screening. Other prominent feature films over the weekend include Forever Wild: Celebrating America’s Wilderness hosted by Robert Redford and featuring the poetry of Terry Tempest Williams; Burning in the Sun about the first solar panel builder in Mali, Africa; Facing the Storm: The Story of the American Bison; Local Warming a music teacher sets out to prove one person can do something about global warming; Eating Alaska is about a vegetarian who moved to Alaska and after searching for the “right” thing to eat began to eat meat; Milking the Rhino examines the deepening conflict between humans and animals in an ever shrinking world; Hands On Farms chronicles a visit to 10 certified organic farms; The Elephant in the Living Room dissects the controversial world of exotic animal ownership; Butterflies and Bulldozers looks inside the fight to protect San Bruno Mountain, the last piece of wild San Francisco; and many others. Of particular note is an award-wining 10-minute documentary called Senekerim Dohanian: Uncle Sam’s Ace Insect Hunter written and produced by the 12-year-old great nephew of Robert Coulter about his pioneering of biological pest control.

Environmental Photography Exhibition

On Friday, November 5, as part of the Colorado Environmental Film Festival, the second annual Environmental Photography Exhibition started by photographer and filmmaker Kent Gunnufson will begin. The still photography exhibition this year is juried by master photographer Al Weber, who is known as a teacher, mentor and advocate for photographers. Last year Hal Gould from Camera Obscura Gallery juried the still photography exhibition. Al Weber’s career spans six decades and includes aerial photography, architectural work and landscape photography. He was a trustee of the Friends of Photography, taught at the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite since their beginning and founded The Rendezvous, an annual gathering and portfolio sharing of photographers from all over the Western U.S. Al Weber was a long-time friend of Philip Hyde, who among other names in photography attended The Rendezvous a number of years.

“More than anything else I appreciate honesty in a photograph, and a print made with skill, care and passion,” Al Weber said.

Kent Gunnufson said, “We are honored this year to have Al Weber jury the photography show. The Colorado Environmental Film Festival is one of the few places people can find out what is really going on in the environment. The media doesn’t cover it. Most other film festivals don’t have many environmental films and they have become more of a marketing tool. All of our staff are volunteers including myself. I do it every year because when I am out photographing I have seen over time how things have degenerated. This film festival helps give people solutions and gives them options of things they can do beyond passively watching films.”

Tickets for the Colorado Environmental Film Festival are good for one two-hour session of two to three films and can be purchased in quantity for discounts. The tickets go for $5.00 for one, $15.00 for five tickets, $25.00 for 10 tickets, $40 for 20 tickets and $60 for an all-inclusive Festival Pass that includes the V.I.P. Opening Kick Off Celebration at 6:00 pm Thursday, November 4. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at the Denver, Lakewood and Boulder R.E.I. stores and at the American Mountaineering Center Theater one hour before the Kickoff.

While people are in town for the Colorado Environmental Film Festival, Philip Hyde’s Mountain Landscapes Exhibition is showing right at the Camera Obscura Gallery in Denver, a rare appearance in Colorado. Philip Hyde has not exhibited in Colorado since the 1980s at an exhibition also in Golden. His only other showings in Colorado were in the 1970s at CU Boulder in a group show and at Camera Obscura in the 1960s.

Sierra Eastside Adventures: Bishop, Mono Lake and Bodie

May 14th, 2010

First An Update on Philip Hyde at Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light Gallery

By 5 pm Friday, May 7, thanks to hard work by the Mountain Light Gallery staff, the Philip Hyde Exhibition was up. Kevin, the gallery operations manager and I started laying the show out at 7:30 am. The layout went quickly, the hanging took longer, but in one day Kevin and Janet, the framer, put more than 50 large 16X20 matted prints on the wall.

Sierra Wave Cloud, Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, 1967 by Philip Hyde. Nationally toured to major museums, libraries and other venues as part of “At Mono Lake Exhibition” that helped raise awareness that the City of Los Angeles was depleting this one of a kind lake and threatening endagered and unique bird and aquatic species. The people of Los Angeles led the response to the campaign to restore the water supply of Mono Lake. Today the lake is rising steadily toward its historic elevation. Mono Lake is already 12 feet higher than its low point in the early 1980s.

That evening Bishop hosted a local art walk that had not been scheduled when we booked our show. Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light Gallery was open and many people coming through could see the prints of Philip Hyde up and getting their final leveling, enough to get interested to return the next night for the opening reception. Galen Rowell’s daughter Nicole Rowell-Ryan and her husband Ray Ryan drove up from the Central Valley and we talked about Galen Rowell and Philip Hyde. As the art walk began, Janet invited me to stop by the Pilates studio where she teaches body work. The Pilates studio had a group playing live music: hammer dulcimer, banjo, guitar, acoustic base and good singers. I told everyone about the Philip Hyde opening the following night. It was heart-warming to find out that many people had heard of Philip Hyde. The banjo player even had a copy of Slickrock at home.

The opening at Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light Gallery on Saturday night started out slow, but after about an hour the gallery filled with people. Barbara Laughon, Mountain Light Gallery public relations, said that the turnout was even larger than when they had a contest of photographers from the area and the gallery workshops. I spoke for about 30-40 minutes about Mom and Dad, their travels and the part Dad’s photography played in the establishment of a number of national parks and wilderness areas of the American West. The talk seemed well-received and people stuck around afterward to ask questions and chat. Camille in sales said that she was very busy ringing people up all evening. She said that evening they did not sell any Philip Hyde prints but one had already sold before the prints even made it to the premises.

Night Soft-Focus Industrial Photographs

Night Shadows, County Yard Near Bishop, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde. Hand held Nikon D90.

By a little before 10:00 pm I said my goodbyes and hit the road. I felt a little sad to be leaving having had an enjoyable time meeting everyone. I drove about an hour up to Mono Lake to catch the sunrise the next morning. On the way up the big grade between Bishop and the Mammoth Lakes turnoff, I spotted the same Mono County Construction Yard I had noticed on the way into town on Thursday night. The steel machinery and industrial forms were interesting lit up at night. I stopped and jumped the fence to make some hand-held-soft-focus-night photographs. Fortunately either the surveillance thought I was harmless or they were not paying attention as I made over 20 images.

Mono Lake Back Roads

I drove through Lee Vining to the Mono Basin National Forest Visitor’s Center to check the hours. It did not open until 9:00 am, which would give me time to photograph in the early morning. I drove back a few miles south of Lee Vining to the turnoff for South Tufa. In the dark I must have missed the turnoff because I drove for many miles until the road entered a woods and was climbing noticeably. Once I turned around, in a few miles I saw Mono Lake Mills historic marker on the right. I pulled off and noticed a small road going down toward Mono Lake. The main road seemed to parallel the lake shore and never get any closer.

At first I thought I would go just a short distance to find a secluded place for the night. However, the road smoothed out and headed straight for the lake shore that I could now see more distinctly in the distance under star light. I drove toward Mono Lake for some time, but then the road veered to the right to parallel the lake shore again. I decided to stop, hit the hay and find out what to do in the morning. The next morning I could see that the road I was on did seem generally to go to the lake even though it jogged back and forth in other directions a few times. The road gradually became alternately rougher and more sandy, it had turned into a 4X4 road, not meant for an old Ford Van with two-wheel-drive. I kept going until the track started down steeper into the Mono Lake basin. By then I was getting bogged down in the sand even going downhill. I imagined that coming back up would be next to impossible. The one consolation was that strangely enough I had good cell phone service way out there. I imagined that I would probably spend most of the day either digging myself out of the sand or calling a tow truck. Hopefully there was one in Lee Vining.

Morning Shadows, Mono Lake, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde. Hand held Nikon D90. I have been visiting Mono Lake for over 40 years but this was the first time I photographed it.

The track became even smaller and degraded into mainly sand. I kept looking for a good place to turn around but found none where the ground was hard enough in a large enough area for the van. Finally there was a wide place that looked like it had enough foliage on top of the sand to provide enough traction to turn around. It did not. I got about half way turned around and the back wheels started to dig in. Fortunately in the van I carry a small Army issue shovel that my parents had carried through all their travels. They taught me at a young age to use a shovel for going to the bathroom in the wilderness. It also came in handy for burying fires and organic garbage. Fortunately the Mono Lake sand did have a harder bottom down six inches or so and the sand itself was more like fine gravel, quite grainy and not completely soft. Also, I had recently put on four brand-new tires. As my two back wheels dug in, I stopped before the axel was buried. The sun was just hitting the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance and lighting up the Tufa and the far shores of Mono Lake. I abandoned the van and ran with camera in hand the remaining half mile or so to the lake shore.

Forgetting my vehicle troubles, I photographed while it was still very cold. The grasses were still brown, matted and showing signs that the snow had just melted away. The marshes were still soaked with melt water into which I sunk up to mid-calf. I had to keep moving to not sink in further.  After exhausting the photographic possibilities, I waded and sloshed back to my poor old van. I rested for a time then got back outside for the digging. By then it had warmed up and I was sweating as I shoveled the sand away. There actually wasn’t that much shoveling to do before I tried to get the van going. I was able to get out of the self-made hole and got going up the road. The trick to the road was that if you went too fast you would get bounced sky-high when you hit the ups and downs of the rougher areas. On the other hand, if you went too slow, you would bog down and stall out in the deep sand. I definitely bogged down a few times and bounced very high a few times, not to mention scraping the side of the van some on the close Junipers, sage brush and other desert growth along the road. However, I was amazed that I somehow miraculously made it past the worst of the uphill deep sand and up to the solid ground. I thought for certain I would lose a day waiting around for AAA to bail me out of my predicament.

At the Mono Basin National Forest Visitors Center I introduced myself. The desk staff pointed me to the back exhibit room where my father’s 1967 black and white print of the Sierra Wave Cloud is prominently displayed as part of the At Mono Lake Exhibition with photographs by Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, Philip Hyde, Timothy O’Sullivan, Edward Curtis, Al Weber, Ted Orland, Don Worth Dave Bohn, Robert Dawson, Clinton Smith, Stephen Johnson and others. At Mono Lake toured the country to help raise awareness to save Mono Lake. This early 1980s campaign will be the subject of another blog post. I met Deb and Lou Main who work at the Mono Basin Visitors Center. Deb Main is a photographer. Lou told me that many prominent photographers come through regularly to photograph Mono Lake. I told Lou Main that I was thinking of heading up to the ghost town of Bodie Historic State Park. My dad photographed Bodie with a group of his classmates from the California School of Fine Art in 1949.

A Hiking Quest For The Ghost Town Of Bodie

Window, Bodie Historic State Park, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde. Nikon D90.

Lou said that Bodie Historic State Park did close at 4:00 pm and the sign at the entrance said the hours were strictly enforced. However, as a general rule, if I was just photographing and minding my own business, not barging into buildings or messing with anything, they would probably let me walk around and photograph after closing. Lou said that the main road was not open all the way in that time of year as there was still snow on the ground in the ghost town of Bodie. He said it would be about 1/3 mile walk each way. The mistake I made was to take the road along Mono Lake toward Hawthorne, Nevada, rather than to go in the main entrance to Bodie farther north off of U. S. Highway 395. From the route to Hawthorne, a back road to Bodie winds up through the hills and appears on a map to be shorter than the main entrance road, especially from along Mono Lake. On the map, the two roads look like they might meet near Bodie anyway. As it turned out, they did not come together until right at the entrance station. Meanwhile, the back entrance road gave me reason to worry right away.

About two miles in, a sign said, “Road Closed.” I considered for a moment that my father would have turned around at that point. He was generally a law-abiding citizen, unless there was a good reason, advantage or point to be made by breaking the law. I have never had any reason to break any serious laws to speak of in a manner that would get me caught. However, when it comes to adventure, I have rarely let a little thing like a few signs or road statutes get in the way. Considering I had already come close to 20 miles from the main highway and only had about ten more to get to Bodie according to the map, I decided to keep going and see why the road was closed. The sun was sinking toward the horizon. It was some time after 5:00 pm, the temperature was dropping and the wind had been very gusty all day. There were no gates but as the dirt road climbed, more and more snow appeared on it and runoff flowed down it, turning it to a muddy morass in places and at the least full of ruts in others. Along the hillsides, football to beach ball sized rocks had tumbled into the road. Lou Main at the Mono Lake Visitor Center said that the state park service had announced the main entrance would be open in about a week. He said that even though it had been an extra-heavy snow year, the snow had been melting fast recently. Just the previous week, the whole town of Bodie had still been under snow.

Fire House And Mine, Bodie Historic State Park, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde. Nikon D90.

Up, up the trusty old van climbed past slippery sliding rutted and rock strewn road sections. Finally just as I began to see mine tailing piles and signs of perhaps an approaching town, there was a solid iron gate across the road. ‘Okay, no problem,’ I thought. ‘I can hike from here. It will only be 1/3 of a mile.’ I bundled up with as many layers as I had, wool hat, gloves and my camera. It was May 10, but it was also around 8,000 foot elevation and had just snowed lightly that afternoon.  As I stepped out of the van I might as well have been wearing a T-shirt because the howling wind went right through everything. I had on my long-haul Vasque hiking boots, the ones built for mileage.

The road on the other side of the gate wound around the mountain out of sight. Hundreds of fresh footprints reassured me I was doing the right thing and would be in wonderful historic Bodie soon, just around the bend. I rounded the bend and the road kept going up, up, and up. Finally after at least half a mile, already farther than the 1/3 mile promised, it began to sink in that I had not come in the main entrance. I was taking another road and who knows how far that gate would prove to be from Bodie. I came to the top of a rise in the road. Before me stretched a high desert valley and far away in the distance, there was the ghost town of Bodie. It was hard to judge the distance but I have done a lot of walking in my life. My guess was that it probably was at least another mile and a half, if not two miles to Bodie from where I stood.

Bodie Hotel Bar, Bodie Historic State Park, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde. Nikon D90.

I looked down at the road and saw that most of my friendly companion footprints had deserted me at the top of the hill and turned around. However, I was there to photograph and the sun was getting lower all the time. I guessed it would go down on Bodie in about 45 minutes to an hour. There was no time to run back down to the van, drive forty miles around to the other entrance and then hike another 1/3 mile. I had to press on even though I was dead tired and my hands were literally numb. I knew I would have to mingle with ghosts and then hike back in the falling dark. I shrugged it off and said to myself, ‘I used to jog that far every day on purpose. Maybe I’ll just move my camera around under my arm and take a little jog.’ So that’s what I did.

At about 6:30 pm I arrived at the entrance to Bodie where the sign says, “Open 8:00 to 4:00 pm, Hours Strictly Enforced.” I walked right past the entrance and into the streets shutters blazing. I had about 15 minutes of sun. As the sun went down, the sky began to light up in various oranges against the dark stormy mood that had prevailed most of the day. Even after the sun set, a glow lingered and gave me a beautiful, soft light for photographing. I wonder if many photographers dare to capture sundown at Bodie with that foreboding sign up front. I was shivering and my hands were numb in the wind, but I hurried on in case I was kicked out any moment. I made a lot of exposures quickly. I am not sure my photographs do that amazing evening justice, but seeing Bodie in that light alone, without any photographs, was well-worth the hike. In a little while it became unbearably cold and when the oranges and reds faded from the sky, I decided to begin the return hike while I still had light.

Looking South From Entrance to Bodie, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde. Nikon D90.

I passed the entrance station and began making my way up the long road to the top of the hill where I had first surveyed the scene. I had gone about 100 yards when a state park truck came over the horizon on the main entrance road. I moved smoothly on up the other road and either he or she did not see me, or did not bother to follow and interrogate me. I felt so uplifted, light and inspired, especially once I was able to put my hands deep into my pockets and get them warm again. The hike and jog back went very quickly. I even made it to the van before it was completely dark and made it out past the closed sign before any more rocks fell off the hills. As I pulled onto the road to Hawthorne, this time headed for U.S. 395 and home, I breathed a sigh of relief and elation.

Breaking New Ground With Digital Photography Creations

April 2nd, 2010

Art derives a considerable part of its beneficial exercise from flying in the face of presumptions.”    – Henry James, 1888

Calathea #2, 2003 from the Photo Synthesis Series by Huntington Witherill. Photoshop creation from a Canon 10D original made in Huntington Witherill's Studio in Monterey, California.

Though this blog is primarily about landscape photography, it will cover other forms of interest. Landscape photographers such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Brett Weston, and Philip Hyde were known for their landscapes, yet it is well-known that they practiced other forms. Philip Hyde, like the others above made portraits and a significant portion of his work is considered documentary. He avoided commercial work for advertising but made a large body of architectural photographs for corporate and government clients. Today no genre of photography has more merit than any other, as long as the work is produced with the same artistic rigor as taught by the early masters. (For context, see the series of blog posts, “Photography’s Golden Era 3,” “Photography’s Golden Era 4” and others in the category “History of Photography.”)

Calathea #2, 2003, original digital capture with a Canon 10D by Huntington Witherill in his studio in Monterey, California. (Before Photoshop "Digital Transformation" process)

In the blog post “Photography’s Golden Era 2” I drew from several authorities to address a question asked in a comment on “Photography’s Golden Era 1” about the current time period and whether it is also a “Golden Era.” The discussion heated up, but several landscape photographers pointed out that because the current conditions are not conducive to making a living from photography, the period is not liable to incubate as much great art. However, even though photography is going in a million directions and what we see now is chaos, we may be in the beginnings of a new Golden Era. See the blog post “Man Ray On Art And Originality.” Also relevant to this discussion, are the words of discretion by Paul Strand in the blog post, “What Makes A Photograph Art?”

After some looking around, I found a few striking examples of fine art photographers that are doing truly new and innovative work. One of these is a young lady, Natalie Dybisz, who calls herself Miss Aniela. Her tastefully exotic digitally re-constructed self-portraits have reportedly developed a record-breaking following on Flicker. Another fine art photographer, Huntington Witherill, has practiced straight photography for 35 years but is now breaking new ground in creative digital photography with a series he calls Photo Synthesis.

“Absent the proper self-restraint,” Huntington Witherill said, “Working with Photoshop can be a bit like using a chainsaw to make Christmas tree ornaments. Photoshop is a marvelously powerful tool. But unlike a chainsaw, Photoshop is also capable of extremely intricate and detailed work when used with finesse.” Huntington Witherill has made some remarkable creations that measure up artistically to his earlier film photography.  The steps he takes in the process of one creation can be viewed in a video by Clicking Here.

“The perpetuation and validity of straight photography has already been well established,” Huntington Witherill said. “Edward Weston’s photographs remain every bit as valid as they were prior to the digital age. However, in my opinion, it is the aesthetic quality of the work itself which will tend to perpetuate and continue to validate the practice of straight photography.” Huntington Witherill and my father, Philip Hyde, both taught photography workshops at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension, along with other luminaries such as Ruth Bernhard, Cole Weston, Morley Baer, Wynn Bullock, Al Weber, Steve Crouch, Dave Bohn, Ralph Putzker, Glenn Wessels, Milton Halberstadt, Pirkle Jones, Dick Garrod, Henry Gilpin and others. Philip Hyde and Huntington Witherill were roommates once at a workshop teachers gathering and also spent time together at the Rendezvous, a meeting of photographers organized by Al Weber. Huntington Witherill recently had more to say about my dad’s landscape photography and how people see it today:

Were I to feel it necessary to argue the validity, importance or relevance of your father’s work, I would be doing so on the basis of the overall aesthetic quality and visually unique character and style of his photographs, and to a certain restrained extent, upon the context in which they were made. I would avoid the old “us” versus “them” argument which pits “straight” photography against all other types of photography (an argument which largely centers upon the chosen tools, materials, and methods, and the relative level of perceived manipulation used to produce the work). First, I think it’s beneath the dignity and importance of your father’s work to be forced into such a seemingly shallow argument. And second, I think the argument itself is completely unnecessary. Your father’s work was made at a time when few others were producing similar work. It could be superficially categorized as “straight” photography, yet aesthetically, it stands on its own even today, regardless of the specific kind of photographic characterization or classification one wishes to apply to it.

Your father used his heart and mind to produce images that met his own unique sensibilities. He saw the world in a way that others did not. Who cares how or in what style, or even when his photographs were made? To argue the “validity” or relative “importance” of a Philip Hyde photograph based upon the tools, materials and methods he used to produce that photograph, is beneath the dignity of the work. We’re all in the same photographic boat and we’re all working on differing forms of artistic self-expression. When your father’s work is considered in the context of photographic “art,” it must be compared with all other forms and manifestations of the art, not simply advocated because it happens to be “straight” photography. Edward Weston’s photographs are great because they are great photographs. It doesn’t matter to what style or method you compare them. Edward Weston’s photographs are not great simply because they are “straight” photographs. And… neither are your father’s.

All photographers and purveyors of photography working today are in the throws of negotiating the many changes in the medium brought on by digital cameras, Photoshop and other digital era methods. Everyone has a different approach. Some photographers have not only navigated the changes, they are thriving by leading the way. “Witherill has embraced the new technique and run with it,” Rick Deragon said in 1999. Rick Deragon is a painter of the natural scene, museum curator and art teacher. Rick Deragon also said of Huntington Witherill, “He’s run right into a new reality that he is able to define, unfettered by photography’s past, but still full of his reverence for the natural source.”

Railing, Fort Stevens, Washington, 2006 by Huntington Witherill. An example of his straight photography.

One look at Huntington Witherill’s photography and anyone can see it is not to be confused with much other photography today that suffers from heavy-handed Photoshop use that has somehow tainted and made the images look slightly overcooked. He himself describes the majority of the photography displayed on the internet today as low quality. The change to be feared is not the departure from straight photography through Photoshop. Nor is there harm in exploring new ways of making images that use methods or philosophies completely different from straight photography. The degrading of the medium lies in the vast quantities of aesthetically inferior work and the overuse of Photoshop to try to save otherwise tasteless images.

Photoshop is a wonder in the hands of talented creative artists such as Miss Aniela or Huntington Witherill. The problem lies not in new forms of photography, but in landscape photography that consists of what my father, Philip Hyde, called “pretty pictures for postcards.” In his artist statement he said, “Black and White is excellent experience for color work because it encourages sensitivity to form, texture, tonal gradations and the quality of light. Color photographs that lack these qualities and rely too much on the shock value of color alone will not sustain interest.”

In a 1979 letter to retired Outward Bound river guide and landscape photographer Chris Brown, Philip Hyde wrote that many landscape photographs tend to have too many elements in them and are “not tightly enough organized.” Philip Hyde went on to say:

Because it is big in scale does not mean that it can’t have impact as an intentional photograph. The camera only sees one frame at a time, and unless you get into some of the multiple-image techniques, you’ve got to rely on one image to make the impression. I tend to be careful in my own work, not to yield to the easy temptation to over-dramatize things just to make this impression—and as a corollary, I also tend to be less impressed with the group led by Ernst Haas, who make their point by highly romantic over-dramatics. They go too far, I think, but certainly something more than pointing the camera and making a snapshot is indicated. Snapshots have their place, but I assume at the outset that you want to make a deeper impression, create something that communicates a little more powerfully. The only recipe I know for it is a four-letter word: work (experience, practice).

Take a look at the following videos of Huntington Witherill, by Douglas Ethridge, posted on John Paul Caponigro’s blog. They show not only a new vision but also a depth of mastery of the medium, that developed through many years of experience and practice in straight photography, but that has now found a new direction through new methods and techniques that go way beyond those of the past. Welcome to the future, or at least one form of it…

To read more about cutting edge Photoshop methods see the blog post, “Monday Blog Blog: Photoshop For Pros.”