Ansel Easton Adams
American, Photographer, February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984
San Francisco-born Ansel Adams took his first photograph in 1916. More than a dozen years later (during which time he also trained as a concert pianist), he decided on photography as a career. A master of the natural landscape photograph, Adams became famous for his spectacular, reverential images of the American West. He also was known for his technical skill, conceiving the zone system method of exposure and development control.
An advocate of straight, unmanipulated photography, in 1932 Adams cofounded Group f/64 (among the other founding members were Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and Willard Van Dyke), and that year exhibited his work with the group at San Francisco’s M. H. de Young Memorial Museum. In 1936 his images were featured in a one-person exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s New York gallery, An American Place, and three years later he took part in group exhibitions at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1940 Adams helped found the department of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, and later in the decade was awarded two fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to photograph America’s national parks.
Beginning in the 1930s and continuing throughout his long, productive career, Adams published numerous books and portfolios of his images. His technical books on photography, including Making a Photograph, Basic Photo Series, and Polaroid Land Photography Manual, were also popular. Adams was influential not only as a photographer but also as a teacher, lecturer, and conservationist. In 1980 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.
Images and Text Via Museum Graphics Ansel Adams
Kelm is a Berlin based photographer. This is a series of Untitled Pieces, 2012, from the Marc Foxx gallery.
The paintings of Peter Mandradjieff.
His work along with Gina Beavers, Ariel Dill, Joanne Greenbaum, Leigh Ruple, Jeffrey Tranchell, Johannes VanDerBeek will be showing at Halsey McKay Gallery which opens on March 2.
HUMAN DRAMA curated by Denise Kupferschmidt.
Meditations on a way to live
The orange sky in the night glows over the train tracks, going north.
Just then, a cat runs into its tail
I’ve never felt warmer than I did that night.
The rain was turning into snow, and
Place by the sea, that’s where I wanna be
Love is the thing in time that listens
I can’t remember the feeling it is like a silver glove
I live by this acquaintance.
I decided to write a poem as a contribution to this show I’ve curated. It felt appropriate, since the works presented in Human Drama are so full of flourish. It seemed right to begin any statement about them with something poetic. These artists are moving towards their personal truths along paths that are inconstant and unworn. The availability of each practice exists in varying degrees. Their media is invigorated and instilled with what happens in the environment of their practice: rituals, rooms, dreams, habits and patterns, everyday stuff. Materiality informs the discussion, to be unresolved in moment to moment experiential investigations of the artwork, or redefined in the making. They are living with making art. They are living and making art. They are making art out of living.
**All images are from petermandradjieff.net
**All italicized text is from Halsey McKay Gallery
Besse is a French based abstract photographer that explores the mundane. The first series, Pans, explores the tops of traffic poles. To see more of his work visit his website.
Oakland artist Alexander Cheves makes paintings and sculptures that blend seamlessly together, with strong colors and silhouettes that call to mind forgotten landscapes while also demanding immediate, close attention to tiny details and naked, simple form.
MH: I’m really liking the way the theme of silhouettes connects your sculpture and paintings. Can you talk about how you work in both forms, and the connections and differences?
AC: Thanks – making art is the same in all instances for me, regardless of material and dimension. The connections between works are the result of having come from the same source. They feed off of each other – like a conversation with someone familiar.
MH: What are some of the types of architecture that inspire you? It’s interesting the way some of your work skips from very abstract, almost story-book simplified, and other things make me say “oh, yeah, Oakland,” (which is where you’re based).
AC: I find all architecture inspiring at some level; it’s about filling space. Whether it’s abstracted, simplified or literal, it’s a vehicle for me to connect with the past, present and future. And sometimes it’s just a landscape painting. I don’t put up a lot of road blocks in my practice and out-put, so I can enjoy the variety.
MH: What’s the scale of your paintings? And what materials are using? Are you choosing materials (i.e. house paint vs. oil paint) that invoke some of your content on a material level?
AC: My current paintings are on the smaller side; big paintings right now are cumbersome. I’m working in many different mediums – mainly as a function of the final aesthetic – it’s not content driven. It’s also a result of what’s at hand.
MH: How do you relate to color and chose the colors you work with?
AC: Color is crucial to me, but it’s not scientific, it’s emotional. Trial and error – memory and connection. It’s great when it works, hard when it doesn’t.
MH: I see architecture cropping up in your work, but who are some of the artists and makers who inspire you, either directly, or who you’re just excited about?
AC: Isamu Noguchi. Jonathan Lasker. Heidi Pollard. Frederic Remington, especially his nocturne paintings.
MH: Can you talk about model making in relationship to your sculpture? I’m interested in the ways that that can fold in on itself: the idea of your fabricating small models of the larger but still model-like sculptures you make. Perhaps this is another question about scale.
AC: I don’t make models – they are all sculptures whether the scale is large or small. The scale has to feel comfortable and each work is individual. There is a certain practicality required in making sculpture – some pieces look good at any scale and others need to be one size. And some you need to make sure fit out the studio door.
MH: I wasn’t sure whether you make models or not, but I’m asking more about how, as sculptures that sometimes resemble/reference buildings, plinths etc. you sometimes pull off a huge shift of scale that seems to relate, perhaps only to a viewer, to architectural model making… and other times the work has a very exciting 1:1 size ratio with the objects it seems to reference. I like how that shifting of scale really puts emphasis on formal elements rather than functional ones but I wanted to hear about how you use scale, what makes it “comfortable” to you in each work.
AC: I think what you are asking is essentially, how do I know when a piece is done or how do I make any decision? “Comfortable” is where your heart lives. It’s intuitive risk taking – when it almost makes you weep you’re getting close. It’s when you feel strong and sad simultaneously. It’s the rush of a new day in object-hood with color.
MH: What are you working on right now?
AC: I just finished a few sculptures — currently there are three of them and I am working on a fourth. The series is called “Blue Sky Preservation.”
Vince Donovan is a San Francisco-based photographer, writer, and the co-founder of Photobooth, a portrait studio, camera shop and gallery dedicated to wet-plate, Polaroid, and other hand crafted, one-of-a-kind photographic processes.
Vince built his first darkroom when he was eight years old and since then has worked continuously in film and alternative photography, specializing in portraiture. In 2009, he completed “Little Cities”, a series of thirty-foot photographic murals, each composed of hundreds of individual portraits. Inspired by the work of August Sander, Vince spent two years making a complete series of portraits of members of several non-profit communities, including Old First Presbyterian Church, Creativity Explored, and the San Francisco Welcome Center. The portraits were printed in a darkroom on thirty-foot rolls of photographic paper, using a two dimensional sliding easel Vince designed and built specifically for this project. Each mural required over 8 hours of darkroom time to complete. The eight murals making up “Little Cities” were exhibited at the Rayko Center for Photography. Individual murals can now be seen at Old First Presbyterian church and other locations in San Francisco.
Vince has also experimented extensively with the various forms of Polaroid and other instant photography. For several years he was a common sight in San Francisco’s Mission District taking portraits with a Polaroid Land camera or an Andy-Warhol-style Polaroid Big Shot. He also travelled by bicycle through southern Spain and the north island of New Zealand with a Polaroid Land camera he modified specifically for portraiture. This series is currently on display at the Photobooth Gallery.
In 2011, Vince, together with Michael Shindler, started Photobooth, which has become a center of inspiration for the community of hand-crafted photographers in San Francisco and beyond. Photobooth is both a photography business and an ongoing experiment in portraiture. Over 4000 wet-plate and Polaroid portraits have been taken in the studio since it opened in 2011. Each is a unique hand-crafted object, remarkable in an age when photographic images are assumed to be ubiquitous and infinitely reproducible. Most importantly, each Photobooth portrait creates a unique experience for photographer and subject, a momentary exploration of timelessness and identity.
Through Photobooth, Vince continues to experiment with portrait media and styles, and now conducts workshops exploring the experience of hand-crafted photography. He has also begun a new portrait series involving San Francisco’s communities of faith.
*** You can find Vince on Facebook or talking alternative photography at Photobooth SF.
The work of Lukáš Jasanský & Martin Polák.
From the series: 1988-89 on a sheet of white paper.
**All images from jasansky-polak.svitpraha.org
Driscoll is an illustrator and collage artist living in Windsor, England. To see more of here work visit her site.
The work of Aaron King.
**All images are from aaronthomasking.com