Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Master of Platinum: Interview of Dick Arentz for Outdoor Photographer Magazine

August 9th, 2016

Master of Platinum and Palladium: An Outdoor Photographer Magazine Interview with Fine-Art Photographer, Innovator and Printer Dick Arentz

Cover of August Issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine.

Cover of August Issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine.

The August 2016 Outdoor Photographer Special Issue of the magazine print version features David Leland Hyde’s interview of Dick Arentz, an acclaimed large format photographer, workshop co-leader with Philip Hyde and expert platinum and palladium printer. Now the article, Master of Platinum, is available online.

The Arizona Arts and Humanities Commission honored Arentz as one of the most significant artists in the state. He helped Phil Davis develop the companion volume to Ansel Adams’ Zone System called Beyond the Zone System. He also has been researching 19th century techniques, testing, leading workshops and defining Platinum and Palladium printing for 43 years. His book, Platinum and Palladium Printing, is known in online forums and industry magazines as the quintessential book on the subject.

For those who are not familiar with this complex and difficult photographic black and white printmaking process, Arentz gave me a simplified summary himself:

In Platinum printing, as in most non-silver processes, an intense ultraviolet light must be passed though the negative to expose the paper coating. Because this is a higher intensity of light than is possible to project from an enlarger, the process requires contact. Before the ground breaking digital work of Dan Burkholder, there were basically two choices for the making of a negative: in-camera, or photo-mechanical enlargement by projecting the image on multiple stages of duplicating film. Later on, it became possible to use a service bureau to have a negative made using their image-setting equipment. Now, of course, using Burkholder’s method, many times with refinements added by others, a suitable negative can be made using an ink-jet printer.

As for the coating on the paper, the platinum process is one of many that depend on the reduction of a metallic salt to a pure metal. Instead of silver, which is most commonly used, platinum and/or its sister metal palladium make a high quality reproduction. Those with bit of background in photographic history know that in the nineteenth century, silver compounds were coating on paper as well. At the turn of the century, when commercially prepared silver gelatin paper became available, commercial platinum/palladium paper followed. However, pre-prepared platinum/palladium paper went out of production after World War I, though a packaged palladium paper was briefly available in the 1990s.

Arentz is known for his subtle, yet vivid and luminescent black and white photography presented through platinum and palladium prints and fine art photography books. His books are profound personal statements of his unique vision. Besides Platinum and Palladium Printing, Second Edition (2004), Arentz has published Four Corners Country (1986) with introduction by Philip Hyde, The American Southwest (1987), Outside the Mainstream (1990), British Isles (2002) and Italy Through a Different Lens (2009).

For more about his development as a photographer and lead technician of his printing medium, and for his words of wisdom about projects, making subjects fresh and capturing unusual perspectives seek out the Black and White Special Issue of Outdoor Photographer in print and on newsstands and in bookstores now. It can often be found at Barnes & Noble and some Safeways. The August Black and White Special Issue is also loaded with many other excellent articles on black and white photography. An online version of the article is now available at Master of Platinum. If you want the print version, pick up your copy soon because special issues sometimes sell out early.

Brett Weston Centennial Exhibition

November 3rd, 2011

Scott Nichols Gallery is pleased to present Brett Weston, Centennial, an exhibition of photographs spanning over six decades.

The exhibition will be on view from Thursday November 3rd through Saturday, December 31st.

 

Brett Weston, born December 16, 1911 inherited his father Edward Weston’s love and gift for photography. In the fall of 1925 Edward Weston loaned Brett Weston a 3 ¼ x 4 ¼ Graflex camera. After a few basic instructions from his famous father, Brett Weston’s first photographic explorations gave way to an active career spanning over 68 years. Brett Weston not only assisted Edward Weston, but also collaborated and influenced his esteemed father.

At sixteen he had his first exhibition at UCLA along side his father, Edward Weston. International recognition followed, eighteen of his photographs were included in the influential German exhibition “Film and Foto” in 1929, which brought together an international group of artists with a highly progressive outlook. He also was part of the Group f.64 show at the M.H. De Young Museum in San Francisco in 1932. By the time Brett Weston was in his early 20s his photographs were exhibited in Europe, Japan and throughout the United Sates.

Brett Weston set himself apart from his father by pushing his work into the realm of abstraction, and thus participating in the mid-century movement of abstract art. Brett Weston bridged the gap between representation and abstraction by creating images that were realistically rendered yet composed in such a way as to emphasize abstraction in composition and form. His accomplishments in photography could be seen as a key to understanding the basic tenants of abstract art as expressed by artists working in more obviously interpretive mediums. Merle Armitage wrote of Brett Weston’s work in 1956:  “Here are the patterns, the arrangements, the designs and the evocations sought by the finest abstract painters.”

Generally considered one of the finest printers in photography, Brett Weston produced sixteen portfolios of original photographs, starting with San Francisco in 1939. He believed passionately in the power of his original black and white prints and chose the photographic portfolio as the way to reach an expanded audience while still maintaining control over image quality.

Brett Weston’s photographs have been exhibited in hundreds of galleries and museums including the J. Paul Getty Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, George Eastman House, the Whitney Museum, Amon Carter Museum, National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Museum among others.

Scott Nichols Gallery

www.scottnicholsgallery.com

49 Geary St. #415
San Francisco, CA 94108
415- 788-4641
Copyright © 2011 Scott Nichols Gallery, All rights reserved.

Economic Immunity And Freedom 1: Trash Your Television

August 22nd, 2011

Grasses, Clouds Reflected, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, copyright 2009 by David Leland Hyde. Nikon D90. This photograph and a select group of others will be available soon as limited edition archival fine art digital prints. A friend, who already acquired a 16X20 print of this photograph, said it helps remind her clients of tranquility.

Something fascinating happened to me over the last few months. I have not listened to the Radio or watched TV. This has created a strange, yet significantly measurable positive effect. I know, I know, it is best to stay informed, to be aware of what is going on. Or is it? Is the news a good representative cross-section of events in the world, or does it have a sensationalized negative slant? Could you miss something critical by Trashing Your Television? Probably not. I have discovered that the most significant events seem to get relayed to me by people I run across during the day anyway.

I tuned into NPR for the first time in many months around the beginning of August, just in time to hear about a week-long plummet of European stock markets. Just as I did in October 2008, I sat down in shock and fear. Then I gathered myself out of a knee-jerk response and opened my heart as big as I could and first said yes to the fear, then let it gradually leave and dissipate.

Ever since I have been keeping Radio Silence and Trashing Television. I find that I have a much more positive outlook than many others I talk to, and guess what? Remaining News Media Free isn’t just a Pollyanna perspective either. It produces a measurable difference in the world. Staying positive has produced positive results. I have sold six prints this week including one of Dad’s vintage black and white prints. I also developed a pending situation that will bring as many as 20 more print sales in the near future.

Remember that what began all of this was the bank policy of giving loans to under qualified people. Where does bank policy come from? There is no conspiracy, just follow the money. Look to who is making policy. The Great Depression in the 1920s was the largest transfer of wealth in history away from the middle and lower classes to the richest corporate shareholders. A whole new brand of transfer is on again now.

There is another reason the economy has to take a dive this century. And I do mean a whole century long “managed collapse.” Get used to it. The maximum number of clean energy sources available can provide only about 30 percent of the energy on which the current oil based economy runs. To make the transition to a clean energy society, we have to operate the world economy on 30 percent of the energy we do now. That means we have to trim 70 percent of the fat.

Through it all, Photography will survive.

Will you survive in photography?

Will your photography survive?

Some photographers will thrive and some will fail.

Will you thrive?

Peter Fetterman Gallery Now Representing Philip Hyde

May 18th, 2011

The Celebrated Peter Fetterman Gallery Of Santa Monica, California Is Now Representing The Pioneer Fine Art Landscape Photography Of Philip Hyde

 

Corn Lily Leaves, Proposed North Cascades National Park, Washington, 1959 copyright Philip Hyde. One of the original vintage black and white prints on consignment at the Peter Fetterman Gallery.

The Peter Fetterman Galleryhouses one of the largest inventories of classic 20th Century photography in the United States. The Peter Fetterman Gallery is also the number one photography dealer in Southern California and a member of AIPAD, the Association of International Photography Art Dealers.

Peter Fetterman came to the Los Angeles area from his birth city of London, England over 30 years ago. Peter Fetterman’s first exposure to still photography, through Hollywood while he worked as a filmmaker, interested him in pursuing the art of photography as a collector. Over 20 years ago, Peter Fetterman established his first photography gallery. In 1994, he became a pioneer tenant of Bergamot Station, the Santa Monica Center of the Arts when it first opened.

The diverse holding of the Peter Fetterman Gallery today include work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sabastiao Salgado, Ansel Adams, Paul Caponigro, Willy Ronis, Andre Kerstez, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Lillian Bassman and now pioneer landscape photographer Philip Hyde.

The Getty Museum And Documentary Photography

The Getty Museum of Los Angeles recently acquired a major selection black and white prints by the social documentary photographer Sabastiao Salgado. Peter Fetterman is largely responsible for the development of Sabastiao Salgado in the US and in Europe. Sabastiao Salgado, originally from Brazil, now lives in Paris. He was a photojournalist for such agencies as Sygma, Gamma and in 1979 he joined Magnum. The Wikipedia article on Sebastiao Salgado said, “He is particularly noted for his social documentary photography of workers in less developed nations.” Photographer Hal Gould, founding member of AIPAD and of Camera Obscura Gallery of Denver, Colorado, said that Sabastiao Salgado is one of the 21st Century’s most important photographers. Hal Gould gave Sabastiao Salgado his first US Exhibition at Camera Obscura Gallery. To Read more about Camera Obscura Gallery see the blog post, “Hal Gould And Camera Obscura: 50 Years Of Photography Advocacy.” Philip Hyde exhibited at Camera Obscura Gallery twice: once in the 1970s as part of a group show and once in September-October 2010 as one of the last exhibitions at Camera Obscura Gallery see the blog posts, “Philip Hyde’s Mountain Landscapes at Camera Obscura Gallery,” or “Vintage And Digital Prints Together In One Exhibition.”

More recently Sabastiao Salgado’s Genesis project on landscapes and wildlife in their original settings helped spark Peter Fetterman’s interest in representing the best landscape photographers who made their own film era vintage prints. Philip Hyde was one of the few photographers of the 20th Century who was considered a master of both color landscape photography and black and white photography, as well as hand print making in both mediums.

Peter Fetterman On Collecting Photography

What Peter Fetterman advises about collecting photography:

One of the wonderful things about photography is that it is still possible to build up a significant collection for relatively small sums of money, if you go about it in a smart way. You may love Modigliani, or Rubens, or Rembrandt or Matisse but for most of us that would be fantasy collecting. Fortunately it is still possible to acquire images by the equivalent masters of photography, at an accessible level, and in a market that has so far only ever gone up in value.

‘How do I go about it?’ you may be wondering. The best advice I give my new clients is to do what I call “photo aerobics.” Exercise your eye. Take every opportunity to look at as many images as you can, be it in museum shows, galleries, art fairs, and build up a library of photography books. As in any field of collecting the more knowledge you can acquire the greater the pleasure you are going to experience from the whole process. Find a dealer you can communicate with who is willing to share their own knowledge and expertise with you. Finding the photographs that inspire you is a highly creative endeavor in itself, and can even be an act of self-discovery. As your learning curve grows you will soon understand and appreciate the difference between a silver print and a platinum print, a vintage print and a modern print.

Happily it is still possible to buy an important print in the $1000-$5000 range, and by important I mean a photograph that is going to have longevity not only in terms of the image itself, but also the reputation and importance of the artist. To do this today in any other medium is virtually impossible. This will of course not always be the case with photography either. The realities of increasing demand as more and more collectors enter the arena, will mean a diminishing supply of available of affordable prints of classic images by recognized masters.

Peter Fetterman Is Now Working To Develop Philip Hyde Collections In More Major Museums

The Peter Fetterman Gallery offers a large selection of Philip Hyde vintage black and white silver prints and vintage color dye transfer and Cibachrome prints, most of which are still in the price range mentioned above. Peter Fetterman has also already begun talking to more world-class museums about Philip Hyde. World class venues that have shown or collected Philip Hyde include The Smithsonian, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Time-Life, The Cosmos Club, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, University of Arizona in Tucson Center For Creative Photography, National Geographic Society, George Eastman House, Oakland Museum, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Academy of Sciences, Yosemite National Park Visitor’s Center, Grand Canyon National Park Visitor’s Center, the Ansel Adams Gallery, Weston Gallery, Alaska State Museum and many others.

Photography’s Golden Era 4

March 15th, 2010

(CONTINUED FROM BLOG POST, “Photography’s Golden Era 3.”

Early Influences on Philip Hyde Before Photography School: Leland Hyde, Modernism, Rural Europe, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Group f.64, Ansel Adams and Western National Parks.

Tomales Bay, Point Reyes, Marin County, California, Oil on Canvas, circa 1925 by Leland Hyde.

In the first third of the 20th Century, Modernist Painting came into prominence. It had swept from Paris across the Atlantic in 1913 with the Armory Show in New York. However, the Beaux Arts classical approach that had influenced architecture and art across the US, remained the dominant form and the preferred way of teaching until the student uprisings of 1932. Student activism at the University of California, Berkeley and on other college campuses, led to a shift away from the traditional Beaux Arts methods of teaching. At UC Berkeley in particular, the uprisings instigated a search for a Modernist architect to take over the design program. Modernism waxed and waned but eventually took hold.

In the visual arts, the Modernist movements—Dadaism, Cubism, Fauvism, and Surrealism had faded from public notice and moved into private drawing rooms in the late 1920s and early 1930s. For a time, the new forms were of less interest to the American people. Isolationism and concern over domestic issues brought on the development of American Regionalism, whose proponents often painted the rural countryside. Philip Hyde, age 11 in 1932, had yet to use a camera, but his father Leland Hyde’s favorite subject to paint was nature. He took his family camping in a lean-to tent in the National Parks of the West such as Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone. In 1932, Leland and Jessie’s children, Betty, Davey and Philip, first looked down from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Philip in particular began to dream of some way he could spend his life in the outdoors.

Photography at the time until 1932 and after, was dominated by pictorialism, based on special effects and techniques that altered photographs to resemble paintings. However, straight photography as led by Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and others eventually took over the medium and became the core of Modernism. Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and five other talented California photographers founded Group f.64 in protest to the pictorialist photography that was then broadly exhibited by museums, galleries and camera clubs, as well as widely published in periodicals because it resembled paintings. Academic painters and the art establishment, thought their livelihood might be lost to photography and therefore had for years refused to consider any form of photography art, but in time they for the most part tentatively accepted pictorialism.

Alfred Stieglitz first founded the Photo-Secession society as a pictorialist group. Alfred Stieglitz circulated in the heart of the modern art scene in New York City and followed the European Impressionist Art movement. Many of his most famous photographs were in the pictorialist tradition. They were blurry, atmospheric and employed at least partial soft focus. He usually did not soften the focus in his whole image, but subscribed to the “naturalist” theory that emphasized a photograph’s primary elements by letting background or less important elements remain out of focus, as it was thought the natural human eye did.

European Impressionists painted the steam engine as a symbol of the Industrial Revolution and of the modern city. Alfred Stieglitz in turn photographed steam engines. Alfred Stieglitz never used a special soft focus lens, but used snow or other weather conditions to soften his images and add atmosphere. All along Alfred Stieglitz used real world conditions to create pictorialist effects, rather than the manipulations that were typical of most pictorialist photography. He was the master of capturing real life moments. In the early 1920s, Alfred Stieglitz began to leave behind the idea that photographs need to look like paintings to be art. He had led the movement to have photographs exhibited besides paintings, but his photographs looked more and more like camera work than brush work. He did not cover up that he had changed his outlook. He instead instigated a revolt against pictorialism.

Even before West Coast photographers formed Group f.64, Alfred Stieglitz had started promoting what he called Straight Photography. More on Straight Photography and Group f.64 in the next blog post. Also see the previous blog post, “Photography’s Golden Era 3” for more on Alfred Stieglitz. Beaumont Newhall wrote in the Foreward to Seeing Straight: The F.64 Revolution in Photography that by the time of the founding of Group f.64, pictorialism “had long been abandoned by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and other members of the Photo-Secession society.”

Photographs such as Alfred Stieglitz’s “Steerage,” of working class people on board a ship, marked a new direction for Alfred Stieglitz’s and brought in what became known as the Modernist vision. Edward Weston, who had begun as a pictorialist, destroyed all of his early negatives. Modernist photography discarded the romanticism of the pictorialists and looked deeply into commonplace subjects for hidden beauty. Straight photography and the Photo-Secession decried soft-focus and sought sharpness and precise detail. The Modernists minimized darkroom manipulation, though even Edward Weston, who primarily printed contact prints, was known on occasion to dodge and burn prints, thereby lightening shadows and darkening highlights.

Most agreed with Beaumont Newhall when he named Edward Weston as the spritual leader of Group f.64, even though the independent Edward Weston did not found Group f.64, or pay much attention to its operation. Edward Weston lived a simple, unadorned lifestyle and made fundamental, elegant photographs of common and natural subjects such as garden vegetables, nude poses of his wives and lovers, and western landscapes, particularly those in California and around his home in Carmel. Point Lobos State Reserve was Edward Weston’s favorite outdoor place to photograph. Point Lobos is the perfect example of a straight photography location. Its scenery is not dramatic, not colorful or spectacularly beautiful. Point Lobos has a subtle, hard to define beauty that can only be discovered by looking closely, by getting to know the place, and by creatively framing common appearing rocks, trees, grasslands and beaches.

As Edward Weston did with photographs, Leland Hyde, in the same era and before, depicted the natural scene with oil paintings and pastel sketches. Leland Hyde’s painting style had elements of rural regionalism but he clearly disagreed with one of the primary representatives of the movement, Thomas Hart Benton, once a student in Paris, who wanted to rid America of what he called “the dirt of European influence.” However, Leland Hyde did agree with the social activism and politics of the New Deal that sought a public and useful art. In America, as the 1930’s opened, the merits of  Modernism versus more traditional figure painting became a heated debate. Leland Hyde dreamed of studying in Paris at one of the world’s most famous and selective art schools, L’Ecole des Beaux Arts. He wanted to explore the various forms more deeply, knowing that his course of study would primarily be rooted in classical training but would also incorporate elements and whole courses on the Modernism that flourished in pre-war Paris.

When Jessie Hyde’s favorite uncle passed away, with the family’s sorrow came a blessing: Uncle George Hair left the Hydes a small inheritance. At the height of the depression, Jessie wanted to be practical and buy a house, but Leland Hyde saw it as his chance to go to art school in Paris. L’Ecole des Beaux Arts had offered free tuition since the 17th Century but the application process had always been extremely difficult and competitive. Leland Hyde quietly applied and when he was accepted, Jessie quit arguing for more conservative uses of the money. She told him to go to Paris and enjoy. She would stay in San Francisco and keep the children in school. However, Leland Hyde would not hear of it and insisted that the entire family come with him to Europe. Philip Hyde was 11, his brother Davey only five years old and his sister Betty was 15.

European Countryside, Alps, Pastel Sketch, 1933 by Leland Hyde.

Paris, the capital of Modernism, had a profound impact on the young Hydes and affected Philip Hyde’s photography later. They learned French and listened and watched their father work and talk about his assignments in the evenings at home in their rented artist’s studio-flat. Modernism became a part of Leland Hyde’s work and he incorporated classical training with the new directions in art just as he had imagined. Philip Hyde watched his father paint in the field and listened to him expound at the dinner table about the lectures and class projects from L’Ecole. After school let out, the Hydes bought a car and drove around the European countryside while Leland Hyde painted. They spent three days of the trip on the celebrated French Riviera, where even during the Great Depression, August was the peak tourism month and crowds overran the coast. This was Philip Hyde’s first realization that he preferred wilder places such as the French and German rural countryside and the Austrian Alps where his father also found the most joy and more opportunities to paint what he liked.

When Leland Hyde took his family back to San Francisco, he took fine art painting commissions, hung art exhibitions, entered contests, designed and painted furniture, drew plans and perspective drawings of government buildings and huge factories. He developed a fine reputation as a furniture designer, builder and finisher, a fine art painter and industrial designer. Dad said that his father was gainfully employed the entire Great Depression and the family of five never went hungry. Dad said there were a few slim dinners of perhaps a can or two of food, but they never went hungry, even though Leland Hyde worked solely as an artist. This example of success in following an artistic calling during the worst of times, kept Philip Hyde going in tough times later and gave him the faith and work ethic to become a full-time landscape photographer, a choice even Ansel Adams thought economically unsound for even the most talented photographer in the 1950s.

While the Hyde family was in Europe, a meeting and an exhibition that would change photography forever was taking place back in New York City. On their way home from Europe to San Francisco, the Hydes passed through New York City at about the same time that Ansel Adams traveled there for his first New York exhibition at the Delphic Studios. Philip Hyde and Ansel Adams did not cross paths until over a decade later, when they met at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1946. Philip Hyde first saw Ansel Adams’ prints at the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island just before the War. However, earlier in 1933, a meeting that would affect all of photography occurred when Ansel Adams came to New York on a pilgrimage to meet Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer whose life and work Ansel Adams most admired. Ansel Adams said that when he told Alfred Stieglitz of his concept of visualization, Alfred Stieglitz “responded with his explanation of creative photography.”

Ansel Adams’ definition of visualization became one of the cornerstones of the training in photography that Philip Hyde would participate in later. Ansel Adams wrote in Modern Photography magazine, “The photographer visualizes his conception of the subject as presented in the final print. He achieves the expression of his visualization through his technique—aesthetic, intellectual, and mechanical.”

Alfred Stieglitz’ replied to Ansel Adams’ statement on visualization with the same explanation he had given someone questioning the validity of art produced by a camera. A patron asked Alfred Stieglitz whether a “machine could be creative?” Alfred Stieglitz replied, “I have the desire to photograph. I go out with my camera. I come across something that excites me emotionally, spiritually, aesthetically. I see the photograph in my mind’s eye and I compose and expose the negative. I give you the print as the equivalent of what I saw and felt.”

This process as described by these two primary teachers of photography, turned out to be vaguely familiar and readily understandable by Philip Hyde a dozen years later. Perhaps this had to do with a similar process that he watched over and over throughout his upbringing and in extended duration and repetition, during his boyhood months in Paris, the World’s hub of Modern Art, and throughout his travels in the countryside of Europe, with his family, watching Leland Hyde paint the natural scene. Thus, in the early 1930s, while Alfred Stieglitz and Group f.64 transformed photography and the west coast tradition was born, Philip Hyde started his training in composition and seeing, and began forming his early feelings about wild places that became the heart of his life and work. Ultimately, all of these influences and others we will explore in this blog, helped shape landscape photography. What influences do you know of? What are your feelings and thoughts about the beginnings of straight photography?

References:
Interviews of Philip Hyde by David Leland Hyde 2002-2005
Seeing Straight: The F.64 Revolution in Photography by Mary Street Alinder, Therese Thau Heyman, and Naomi Rosenblum
Ansel Adams: A Biography by Mary Street Alinder
Get the Picture” at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Art Across the Ages DVD Series by Ori Z. Soltes, The Teaching Company

(Continued in the blog post, “Photography’s Golden Era 5.”)

‘Our National Parks’ Exhibition Now at Scott Nichols Gallery in San Francisco

February 20th, 2010

February 4 — March 27, 2010

(See photograph full screen: Click Here.)

Mt. Denali, Reflection Pond, Alaska Range, Denali National Park, Alaska, 1971, by Philip Hyde. First published in Alaska: The Great Land by Mike Miller and Peggy Wayburn, 1974, Sierra Club Books. Helped expand Denali National Park and other wilderness in Alaska. It is a matter of record that Philip Hyde's photographs helped make more national parks than any other photographer, but Ken Burns did not mention this in his PBS Special that prominently showcased Ansel Adams' photographs. Gregarious Ansel Adams was a strong proponent of Philip Hyde's work and reserved Philip Hyde was happy to see Ansel Adams receive more recognition. Mary Street Alinder, Ansel Adams biographer, just today wrote in an e-mail that Ansel Adams thought Philip Hyde did not get what he deserved even from the Sierra Club.

The Scott Nichols Gallery is proud to present ‘Our National Parks‘. Photographs by Ansel Adams, William Bell, Wynn Bullock, Anne Brigman, Harry Callahan, Paul Caponigro, Imogen Cunningham, William Garnett, Rolfe Horn, Philip Hyde, William Henry Jackson, Rondal Partridge, Eliot Porter, Michael Rauner, Alan Ross, Don Ross, John Sexton, Carleton E. Watkins, Brett Weston, Edward Weston and others. The exhibition will be on view through March 27, 2010.

On August 25th, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law an act creating the National Park Service. Photographs made as early the 1860s by Carleton E. Watkins and his contemporaries, brought about recognition and preservation of our national treasures. This exhibition celebrates the beauty and majesty of our country’s landscape from Yosemite National Park to the Cape Cod National Seashore. Nineteenth century photographs are represented by Carelton E. Watkins’ grand Yosemite views, William Henry Jackson’s dramatic Yellowstone scenes, and William Bell and the Kolb Brothers southwestern vistas. H.C. Tibbitt’s photograph, The Fall Of The Monarch With Troop F, Sixth Cavalry, United States Army, Mariposa Grove, 1899, illustrates how the military was used to protect Yosemite before the National Park Service.

El Capitan, Winter, Yosemite National Park, California, 1948, by Ansel Adams. Courtesy Scott Nichols Gallery.

Ansel Adams’ early photographs are prominent in this exhibition, “From Glacier Point,” 1927 and “Monolith and The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park,” also 1927, plus classic images from Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Denali National Park, and Cape Cod National Seashore. Adams received a camera and made his first trip to Yosemite in 1916. Inspired by the splendor and overwhelming sensory experience of Yosemite, Ansel Adams wrote, “a new era began for me.” He later joined the Sierra Club, became a life member and served on the board of directors. His photographic book, Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail influenced the creation of Kings Canyon National Park further south in California’s Sierra Nevada.

Best General View, Yosemite Valley, Circa 1867, by Carleton Watkins. Courtesy Scott Nichols Gallery.

In 1955, at the request of the National Park Service, Ansel Adams and Nancy Newhall curated an exhibition for the Sierra Club’s Le Conte Memorial building in Yosemite Valley. The exhibition and subsequent book, This Is the American Earth, first in the Exhibit Format Series, became a popular success. Exhibited across the country and Europe, the exhibition included the photographs of Wynn Bullock, William Garnett, Philip Hyde, Eliot Porter, Brett and Edward Weston, and many others featured in ‘Our National Parks’. The Exhibit Format Series expanded to dozens of books, many of which helped in campaigns to create new national parks. Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter and Philip Hyde were the primary contributors of the series.

See photograph full screen: Click Here.

Lava, Flowers, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, 1983, by Philip Hyde.

The National Park mission remains the same today as it did one hundred and fifty years ago to those inspired by the magnificence of our country’s natural wonders — to make the parks accessible to all and to preserve them for future generations.

Scott Nichols at the Scott Nichols Gallery next to Philip Hyde's "Mt. Denali, Reflection Pond" under the title script for the exhibition, by Alex Ramos with i-Phone.

Scott Nichols Gallery
49 Geary Street #415
San Francisco, California 94108
415-788-4641
www.scottnicholsgallery.com
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11-5:30 and by appointment.

Photography’s Golden Era 3

February 18th, 2010

(CONTINUED FROM BLOG POST, “Photography’s Golden Era 2“)

Straight Photography and Other Early Influences

5-26-09, rev. 1-23-10

The Steerage, 1921, by Alfred Stieglitz. More than his signature photograph, it is also considered one of the most important images of the 20th Century because it helped to transform photography and change the perception of what was considered fine art. It is also one of the earliest and best examples of "straight photography" as defined by Alfred Stieglitz. Public Domain Image.

Note: Future blog posts will expand on this overview and delve into Pictorialism, documentary, straight photography and especially Group f.64 and the west coast tradition.

In August, 1921, a little known but classically trained painter and furniture maker, Paul Leland Hyde and his wife Jessie Clemens Hyde of Howard Street in San Francisco, gave birth to their third child, a boy they named Philip Jean Hyde. The year proved auspicious for fine art photography, but not for wilderness, at least not until the boy grew up.

The twentieth century’s biggest threats to wilderness and the National Park System began in 1921 when seven western states formed the Colorado River Commission, U. S. Geological Survey teams made studies of Glen Canyon, Cataract Canyon, Grand Canyon and the San Juan River Canyon and Hydrologists proposed the first dam site on the Colorado River.

Meanwhile photography thrived and took leaps forward thanks to an outspoken New York City proponent, the father of fine art photography, Alfred Stieglitz. In February 1921, Alfred Stieglitz sent shock waves through the art world by exhibiting a mixture of nude and clothed depictions of his lover, the rising painter Georgia O’Keeffe. The buzz created by the scandal and success of the show made the young Georgia O’Keeffe famous and solidified Alfred Stieglitz’ place in history both in America and Europe. Philip Hyde never met Alfred Stieglitz, but Alfred Stieglitz would indirectly impact Philip Hyde’s photography and that of all landscape photography. Alfred Stieglitz through his association with Paul Strand and Ansel Adams, influenced the west coast tradition of photography that was also born in the San Francisco Bay Area, as Philip Hyde grew up.

In 1932, an election year, Franklin D. Roosevelt ran against Herbert Hoover, whose popularity plummeted in the wake of the stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression. Roosevelt campaigned on the promise of his New Deal. He said its many programs and projects would reverse the economic collapse. In late 1932, even before Roosevelt took office his advisors started framing programs and began to employ photographers to add life to their reports. The nearly 100-year-old medium of photography conveyed the need for each program more memorably and dynamically than solely written documents. The photography originally used by government organizations such as the Farm Security Administration or FSA in the Great Depression came to be known as documentary photography and was characterized by crisp, sharp and unadorned images.

In previous decades photographers who wanted their work to be considered art, had been moving away from the plain representation of documentation. They experimented with soft focus and print manipulation in many forms including the changing of tone by various methods and printing on cotton and a variety of other art papers. These painterly forms came to be called Pictorialism and dictated what sold in galleries in New York City and the museums and art markets of the Eastern US until 1930 and beyond.

A few photographers bucked this trend, but none successfully until Alfred Stieglitz. Alfred Stieglitz produced a magazine called Camera Work in which he eventually began to encourage “Straight Photography.” When Alfred Stieglitz originally started a society he called Photo-Secession, he was still practicing many of the techniques of pictorialism, but in time he began to take the view that photography was an art form, in and of itself, and did not need to imitate other art forms to warrant public appreciation. He coined the term Straight Photography to refer to images that were sharp and printed just as they were captured by the camera on glossy non-painterly papers that brought out detail. One of the photographers Alfred Stieglitz featured in Camera Work was Paul Strand of Chicago, whose work was stark, simple and straightforward, yet possessed creative depth.

In 1930, a young pianist and photographer named Ansel Adams traveled to New Mexico to finish a book he had started on the Taos Pueblo. No rooms were available at Los Gallos Inn but the Innkeeper introduced Ansel Adams to Becky and Paul Strand who invited Ansel Adams to stay in an extra bedroom of their adobe guest cottage. Ansel Adams knew of Paul Strand from reading Camera Work and was delighted when Paul Strand offered to show him his negatives since he had no prints on hand. Ansel Adams described the negatives as “glorious… with perfect, uncluttered edges and beautifully distributed shapes that he had carefully selected and interpreted as forms—simple, yet of great power.” Ansel Adams was so inspired that he decided that afternoon, “the camera, not the piano, would shape my destiny.”

In 1932, a group of West Coast photographers met informally at photographer Willard Van Dyke’s home in Berkeley, California. Van Dyke’s guests Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, Henry Swift, Sonya Noskowiak, John Paul Edwards and Ansel Adams found they were on a similar journey. When Ansel Adams described his new direction in photography inspired by Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand, he discovered that the others were already at work on this new approach. All present agreed to pursue what they would call “pure photography” and work to reverse the trend of art photography toward Pictorialism. At a subsequent meeting they agreed to call themselves Group f.64, after the smallest aperture or lens opening setting that allowed for the greatest sharpness and depth. Later after World War II, Philip Hyde would study under three of the members of this group that redefined photography, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham.

(Continued in the blog post, “Photography’s Golden Era 4“)

References:
O’Keeffe and Stieglitz: An American Romance by Benita Eisler
Two Lives, Georgia O’Keeffe & Alfred Stieglitz: A Conversation in Paintings and Photographs by Alexandra and Thomas West
Seeing Straight: The F.64 Revolution in Photography by Mary Street Alinder, Therese Thau Heyman and Naomi Rosenblum
Ansel Adams: An Autobiography by Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams: A Biography by Mary Street Alinder