Posts Tagged ‘American landscape photography



06
Jan
11

Exhibition: ‘Robert Adams:
 The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs’ at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Exhibition dates: 25th September, 2010 – 16th January, 2011

 

Robert Adams. 'Colorado Springs, Colorado' 1968

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Colorado Springs, Colorado
1968
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

 

What a pleasure it is to post these photographs from the outstanding photographer Robert Adams. The photograph Longmont, Colorado (1979, below) has become truly iconic and will be recognised instantly by many art aficionados around the world: the glowing neon lights, the empty gondolas, towering, brooding skies and solitary, isolated human. The creature in the photograph Sitka spruce, Cape Blanco State Park, Curry County, Oregon (1999-2000, below) impinges my consciousness like a Lernaean Hydra, an ancient, nameless, multi-headed serpent-like water beast. The eloquently understated series Listening to the River (1985-1987, several photographs below) completes the picture, a tour de force of apposition: each image positioned at rest in respect to another: quiet, still, but visually complex.

There is a crispness and cleanness to Adams work that belie the complexity of his subject matter. Tension and balance within the pictorial frame is the key: formal yet fecund, these intellectually productive images challenge us to imagine, and to name, our relationship with the earth and every place that we live.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to the Vancouver Art Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All images © the artist and Vancouver Art Gallery.

 

Robert Adams. 'Frame for a Tract House, Colorado Springs, Colorado' 1969

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Frame for a Tract House, Colorado Springs, Colorado
1969
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

Robert Adams. 'Longmont, Colorado' 1979

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Longmont, Colorado
1979
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

Robert Adams. 'Edge of San Timoteo Canyon, looking toward Los Angeles, Redlands, California' 1978

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Edge of San Timoteo Canyon, looking toward Los Angeles,
Redlands, California
1978
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

Robert Adams. 'Santa Ana Wash, Redlands, California' 1983, printed 1991

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Santa Ana Wash, Redlands, California
1983, printed 1991
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

Robert Adams. 'Quarried Mesa Top, Pueblo County, Colorado' 1978

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Quarried Mesa Top, Pueblo County, Colorado
1978
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

Robert Adams. 'Ranch Northeast of Keota, Colorado' 1969

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Ranch Northeast of Keota, Colorado
1969
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

Robert Adams. 'Southwest from the South Jetty, Clatsop County, Oregon' 1992

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Southwest from the South Jetty, Clatsop County, Oregon
1992
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

 

Over the past four decades photographer Robert Adams has come to be widely regarded as one of the most original and significant chroniclers of the western American landscape. The first large-scale exhibition of Adams’ work to be presented in Canada, The Place We Live traces his longstanding engagement with the degradation of the environment in the face of suburban development. The exhibition includes more than 300 photographs representing each of Adams’ major projects, from his austere photographs of the Colorado prairie that pay homage to earlier inhabitants, to his unflinching images of the land, workplaces, shopping centres and homes around Denver, as well as recent images of the remains of the great rainforest near his present home in the American Pacific Northwest.

Spare and dispassionate, yet rich with formal invention, Adams’ remarkable images resist simplification of subjects both ordinary and grand, balancing the complexities and contradictions found in modern life. Seen as a whole, the exhibition clearly reveals an approach to art-making that on the one hand seeks to bear witness to humanity’s tenuous relationship with the natural world and, on the other, to celebrate the unexpected sublimity that persists in the face of despoliation.

The reach of Adams’ work has been felt primarily through his publications, which include more than 30 monographs. Adams’ books are an integral component of the exhibition and provide the viewer with the opportunity to further consider the manner in which he has addressed the fear, curiosity and inspiration the American landscape has engendered throughout his career. The international tour of this exhibition is being launched at the Vancouver Art Gallery and is accompanied by a catalogue and a three-volume, hard cover book.

Text from the Vancouver Art Gallery website [Online] Cited

 

Robert Adams. 'In a New Subdivision, Colorado Springs, Colorado' 1969

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
In a New Subdivision, Colorado Springs, Colorado
1969
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

Robert Adams. 'Sitka spruce, Cape Blanco State Park, Curry County, Oregon' 1999-2000

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Sitka spruce, Cape Blanco State Park, Curry County,
Oregon
1999-2000
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery.
Purchased with a gift from
Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

Robert Adams. 'Kerstin, Next to an Old-Growth Stump, Coos County, Oregon' 1999-2003

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Kerstin, Next to an Old-Growth Stump, Coos County, Oregon
1999-2003
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

Robert Adams. 'Untitled' from the series 'Listening to the River' 1985-87

 

Robert Adams. 'Untitled' from the series 'Listening to the River' 1985-87

 

Robert Adams. 'Untitled' from the series 'Listening to the River' 1985-87

 

Robert Adams. 'Untitled' from the series 'Listening to the River' 1985-87

 

Robert Adams (American, b. 1937)
Untitled
from the series Listening to the River
1985-87
Gelatin silver print
Yale University Art Gallery
Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

 

 

Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver
BC V6Z 2H7
Info Line: 604.662.4719

Gallery hours:
Daily 10 am to 5 pm
Tuesdays until 9 pm

Vancouver Art Gallery website

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29
Apr
10

Exhibition: ‘Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O’Sullivan’ at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Exhibition dates: 12th February – 9th May 2010

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'Sand Dunes, Carson Desert, Nevada' 1867

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
Sand Dunes, Carson Desert, Nevada
1867
Albumen print
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The photograph shows O’Sullivan’s photographic wagon in which he developed his glass plates.

 

 

O’Sullivan died at the age of forty two but what photographs he left us!
The human scales the sublime, literally; figures in the descriptive landscape.
The last photograph is, if you will forgive the colloquialism, a doozy.

 

“If the world is unfair or beyond our understanding, sublime places suggest it is not surprising things should be thus. We are the playthings of the forces that laid out the oceans and chiselled the mountains. Sublime places acknowledge limitations that we might otherwise encounter with anxiety or anger in the ordinary flow of events. It is not just nature that defies us. Human life is as overwhelming, but it is the vast spaces of nature that perhaps provide us with the finest, the most respectful reminder of all that exceeds us. If we spend time with them, they may help us to accept more graciously the great unfathomable events that molest our lives and will inevitably return us to dust.”

Alain de Botton. The Art of Travel. London: Penguin, 2002, p.178 – 179.

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Many thankx to Laura Baptiste and the Smithsonian American Art Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'Lake in Conejos Cañon, Colorado' 1874

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
Lake in Conejos Cañon, Colorado
1874
Albumen print
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'Black Cañon, Colorado River, From Camp 8, Looking Above' 1871

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
Black Cañon, Colorado River, From Camp 8, Looking Above
1871
Albumen print
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'Buttes near Green River City, Wyoming' 1872

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
Buttes near Green River City, Wyoming
1872
Albumen print
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'Cañon de Chelle, Walls of the Grand Canon about 1200 feet in height' 1873

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
Cañon de Chelle, Walls of the Grand Canon about 1200 feet in height
1873
Albumen print
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

 

 

Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O’Sullivan is the first major exhibition devoted to this remarkable photographer in three decades. The exhibition is on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., from Feb. 12 through May 9. The museum is the only venue for the exhibition.

“Framing the West” – a collaboration between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Library of Congress – offers a critical reevaluation of O’Sullivan’s images and the conditions under which they were made, as well as an examination of their continued importance in the photographic canon. It features more than 120 photographs and stereo cards by O’Sullivan, including a notable group of King Survey photographs from the Library of Congress that have rarely been on public display since 1876. The installation also includes images and observations by six contemporary landscape photographers that comment on the continuing influence of O’Sullivan’s photographs. Toby Jurovics, curator of photography, is the exhibition curator.

“Timothy H. O’Sullivan is widely recognised as an influential figure in the development of photography in America, so I am delighted that we have partnered with our colleagues at the Library of Congress to present this new assessment of his work and to expose a new generation to his forceful images,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

“In the years following the Civil War, the West was fertile ground for American photographers, but Timothy H. O’Sullivan has always stood apart in his powerful and direct engagement with the landscape,” said Jurovics. “Almost a century and a half after their making, his photographs still speak with an unparalleled presence and immediacy.”

O’Sullivan was part of a group of critically acclaimed 19th-century photographers – including A.J. Russell, J.K. Hillers and William Bell – who went west in the 1860s and 1870s. O’Sullivan was a photographer for two of the most ambitious geographical surveys of the 19th century. He accompanied geologist Clarence King on the Geologic and Geographic Survey of the Fortieth Parallel and Lt. George M. Wheeler on the Geographical and Geological Surveys West of the 100th Meridian. During his seven seasons (1867-1874) traversing the mountain and desert regions of the Western United States, he created one of the most influential visual accounts of the American interior.

His assignments with the King and Wheeler surveys gave O’Sullivan the freedom to record the Western landscape with a visual and emotional complexity that was without precedent. His photographs illustrated geologic theories and provided information useful to those settling in the West, but they also were a personal record of his encounter with a landscape that was challenging and inspiring.

Of all his colleagues, O’Sullivan has maintained the strongest influence on contemporary practice. The formal directness and lack of picturesque elements in his work appealed to a later generation of photographers who, beginning in the 1970s, turned away from a romanticized view of nature to once again embrace a clear, unsentimental approach to the landscape. Observations about his images by Thomas Joshua Cooper, Eric Paddock, Edward Ranney, Mark Ruwedel, Martin Stupich and Terry Toedtemeier appear in the exhibition and the catalog.

O’Sullivan (1840-1882) was born in Ireland. He emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of two, eventually settling in Staten Island, N.Y. Biographical details about O’Sullivan are spare, yet he is thought to have had his earliest photographic training in the New York studio of portrait photographer Mathew Brady. He is believed to have accompanied Alexander Gardner to Washington, D.C., to assist in opening a branch of the Brady studio in 1858, and when Gardner opened his own studio in Washington in 1863, O’Sullivan followed. O’Sullivan first gained recognition for images made during the Civil War, particularly those from the Battle of Gettysburg, and 41 of his images were published in Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War. O’Sullivan’s experience photographing in the field helped earn him the position as photographer for King’s survey. After his survey work, he held brief assignments in Washington with the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Treasury. O’Sullivan died of tuberculosis on Staten Island at the age of 42.”

Press release from the Smithsonian American Art Museum website [Online] Cited 25/04/2010 no longer available online

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'Green River Cañon, Colorado' 1872

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
Green River Cañon, Colorado
1872
Albumen print
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'Horse Shoe Cañon, Green River, Wyoming' 1872

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
Horse Shoe Cañon, Green River, Wyoming
1872
Albumen print
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'Summit of Wahsatch Range, Utah (Lone Peak)' 1869

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
Summit of Wahsatch Range, Utah (Lone Peak)
1869
Albumen print
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, View Across Top of Falls' 1874

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, View Across Top of Falls
1874
Albumen print
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840-1882) 'The Pyramid & Domes, Pyramid Lake, Nevada' 1867

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (American, 1840-1882)
The Pyramid & Domes, Pyramid Lake, Nevada
1867
Albumen print
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

 

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Streets, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004

Opening hours:
11.30 am – 7.00 pm daily

Smithsonian American Art Museum website

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23
Oct
09

Exhibition: ‘William Christenberry: Photographs, 1961-2005’ at the Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia

Exhibition dates: 12th September – 8th November 2009

 

Many thankx to the Morris Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

William Christenberry. 'Green Warehouse, Newbern, Alabama' 1997

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
Green Warehouse, Newbern, Alabama
1997

 

 

“Widely recognised as a pioneer in the field of colour photography, William Christenberry has used this expressive medium to explore the American South for forty years. While pursuing this artistic quest he has drawn inspiration from Walker Evans, and influenced a generation of emerging photographers. William Christenberry: Photographs, 1961 – 2005 surveys his poetic documentation of southern vernacular architecture, signage, and landscape using a wide range of cameras, from his earliest Brownie photographs of the early 1960s to his later work with a large-format camera. Combining never-before-seen photographs, both old and new, with images that are now iconic, this exhibition comprises fifty vintage photographic works and one sculpture. Together, they convey the breadth of his singular photographic vision. Discuss the artistic objectives of his long-term interpretation of the Southern landscape with Michelle Norris of National Public Radio, Christenberry explained: “What I really feel very strongly about, and I hope reflects in all aspects of my work, is the human touch, the humanness of things, the positive and sometimes the negative and sometimes the sad.”

Text from the Morris Musem of Art website [Online] Cited 15/10/2009 no longer available online

 

William Christenberry. 'House and Car, near Akron, Alabama' 1981

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
House and Car, near Akron, Alabama
1981

 

William Christenberry. 'T.B. Hick's Store, Newbern, Alabama' 1976

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
T.B. Hick’s Store, Newbern, Alabama
1976

 

William Christenberry. 'Kudzu with Storm Cloud, near Akron, Alabama' 1981

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
Kudzu with Storm Cloud, near Akron, Alabama
1981

 

 

“William Christenberry Photographs, 1961 – 2005, a phenomenal retrospective exhibition of Christenberry’s photographs, opens to the public at the Morris Museum of Art on September 16, 2009. The Morris Museum is the only Georgia venue hosting this exhibition.

“‘William Christenberry Photographs, 1961 – 2005’ is an overview of the career of one of the South’s most important living artists,” said Kevin Grogan, director of the Morris Museum of Art. “Organised by the Aperture Foundation, this exhibition brings to Augusta a body of work like no other. No one has so scrupulously and attentively captured a sense of place and time in quite the way that Bill Christenberry has. He is a remarkable artist, as is proven by this extraordinary body of work. He is America’s Proust.”

Since the early 1960s, William Christenberry has plumbed the regional identity of the American South, focusing his attention primarily on his childhood home, Hale County, Alabama. Widely recognised as a pioneer in the field of colour photography, Christenberry draws inspiration from the work of Walker Evans, while paralleling the work of such international practitioners as Bernd and Hilla Becher. Ranging from his earliest Brownie photographs to his later work with a large-format camera, William Christenberry Photographs, 1961 – 2005 is a survey of the artist’s poetic documentation of the Southern landscape and vernacular architecture that surrounded him as he grew up. The exhibition, coupling never-before-seen photographs with images that are now iconic, reveals how the history, the very story of place, is at the heart of Christenberry’s ongoing project. While the focus of his work is the American South, it touches on universal themes related to family, culture, nature, spirituality, memory, and ageing. Christenberry photographs real things in the real world – ramshackle buildings, weathered commercial signs, lonely back roads, rusted-out cars, whitewashed churches, decorated graves. Dutifully returning to photograph the same locations annually – the green barn, the palmist building, the Bar-B-Q Inn, among others – he has fulfilled a personal ritual and documented the physical changes wrought by every single year. Straddling past and present, Christenberry’s art suggests the gravity and power of the passage of time.

The exhibition is accompanied by a stunning monograph entitled William Christenberry, published by Aperture in cooperation with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The book, a comprehensive survey, presents all aspects of the artist’s oeuvre as he intended it to be viewed and considered. More than half the work reproduced has not been previously published.”

Text from the press release on the Morris Museum of Art website [Online] Cited 15/10/2009 no longer available online

 

William Christenberry. 'Farmhouse, Hale County, Alabama' 1977

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
Farmhouse, Hale County, Alabama
1977

 

William Christenberry. 'Sprott Church in Alabama' 1971

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
Sprott Church in Alabama
1971

 

William Christenberry. 'Palmist Building, Havanna, Alabama' 1980

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
Palmist Building, Havanna, Alabama
1980

 

William Christenberry. 'House and Car, near Akron, Alabama' 1978

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
House and Car, near Akron, Alabama
1978

 

William Christenberry. 'Rabbit Pen, near Moundville, Alabama' 1998

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
Rabbit Pen, near Moundville, Alabama
1998

 

William Christenberry. 'Old House, near Akron, Alabama' 1964

 

William Christenberry (American, 1936-2016)
Old House, near Akron, Alabama
1964

 

 

Morris Museum of Art
1 Tenth Street
Augusta, Georgia 30901
Phone: 706-724-7501

Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Sunday: 12 – 5.00pm
Closed Mondays and major holidays

Morris Museum of Art website

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21
Sep
09

Exhibition: ‘Ansel Adams: A Life’s Work’ at Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

Exhibition dates: 23rd May – 4th October 2009

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Monolith - The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park' 1927

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Monolith, The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
from the portfolio Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras
1927
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Some well known Ansel Adams images below with some less well known photographs from the Manzanar Relocation Center photographic series of 1943.

Marcus

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Many thankx to the Museum of Photographic Arts for allowing me to publish the three photographs, Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California (1944), Mount McKinley, Alaska (1948) and Aspens, Northern New Mexico (1958). Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Marion Lake, Kings River Canyon, California' c. 1925

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Marion Lake, Southern Sierra
from the portfolio Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras
1927
Gelatin silver print

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico' 1941

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico
1941
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Birds on wire, evening, Manzanar Relocation Center
1943
Gelatin silver print

 

 

“The Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) in Balboa Park is pleased to present Ansel Adams: A Life’s Work. The exhibition includes over 80 photographs by the 20th Century master, and celebrates Adams as an artist and conservationist. A Life’s Work will be on view May 23, 2009 through October 4, 2009, and features an overview of Adam’s work from his early years in the Sierra Nevadas and Yosemite Valley to his work in the Japanese Internment Camp at Manzanar, as well as his well-known masterpieces.

Ansel Adams: A Life’s Work will be running concurrently with Jo Whaley: Theater of Insects on view from May 16 through September 27, 2009, as well as Picturing the Process: Exploring the Art and Science of Photography on view through July 25, 2009.

The exhibition begins with survey of Adams’ early years with the Sierra Club (1920s-1930s), where his photographs and essays were first published in the Club’s Bulletin. 1927 marked a pivotal point for Adams, where he participated in the Sierra Club’s annual High Trip, which took him to the high country of the Sierra. It was during this trip that he exposed the negative of the iconic image Monolith, the Face of Half Dome. Adams describes this photograph as “my first conscious visualisation; in my mind’s eye, I saw the final image.”

It was during this first High Trip that Adams met San Francisco-based arts patron, Albert Bender. Bender took immediate interest in Adam’s photographs, and published Adams’ first portfolio, The Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras (1927). The publication included an edition of 100 portfolios of 18 prints each, 75 were printed.

The exhibition features 15 of the rare Parmelian vintage prints, as well as eight photographs from the 1929 Sierra Club Portfolio.

The exhibition continues with a wide range of representative works from the 1930’s and 1940’s, including commercial work that the artist did for the YPCCO (Yosemite Park and Curry Company). From 1931 to 1937, Adams was hired by YPCCO, a group of businesses in Yosemite Valley, to photograph various winter sports for an advertising campaign. This opportunity provided a much needed source of income for the artist during the Great Depression. The exhibition also includes other various commercial assignments throughout his career, which Adams clearly separated from his fine art photography, but notes as a vital aspect of his career. In his Autobiography he wrote: “I have little use for students or artists who scorn commercial photography as a form of prostitution … Let them pay the bills! … I struggled with a great variety of assignments through the years. Some I enjoyed, some I detested, but learned from them all.”

A Life’s Work also includes the powerful and poignant images from the Manzanar Internment Camp. In late 1943 through 1944, Adams visited the camps in central California, where over 10,000 Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II. Adams’ intention for this self-assigned project was “to interpret the camp and its people, their daily life and their relationship to their community and their environment,” wrote Adams in his Autobiography. “As my work progressed, however, I began to grasp the problems of the remarkable readjustment these people had to make… With admirable strength of spirit, the Nisei rose above despondency and make a life for themselves… This was the mood and character I determined to apply to the project.”

A Life’s Work will feature many of his iconic masterworks, including Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, as well as his works in colour, which he experimented with beginning in the late 1940s.”

Press release from the Museum of Photographic Arts website [Online] Cited 15/09/2009

 

Ansel Adams. 'View south from Manzanar to Alabama Hills, Manzanar Relocation Center' 1943

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
View south from Manzanar to Alabama Hills, Manzanar Relocation Center
1943
Gelatin silver print

 

Ansel Adams. 'View SW over Manzanar, dust storm, Manzanar Relocation Center' 1943

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
View SW over Manzanar, dust storm, Manzanar Relocation Center
1943
Gelatin silver print

 

Ansel Adams. 'Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, CA.,' 1944

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California
1944
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Museum of Photographic Arts.
Copyright © 2009 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams, Mount McKinley, Alaska, 1948

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Mount McKinley, Alaska
1948
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Museum of Photographic Arts
Copyright © 2009 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams. 'Aspens, Northern New Mexico' 1958

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Aspens, Northern New Mexico
1958
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Museum of Photographic Arts
Copyright © 2009 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

 

Museum of Photographic Arts
Located within Balboa Park at 1649 El Prado, 
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-238-7559

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm

MoPA website

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15
Jun
09

Exhibition: ‘Downstream: Colorado River Photographs of Karen Halverson’ at The Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Exhibition dates: 30th May – 28th September 2009

 

As clear as a bell!

Marcus

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Many thankx to the Huntington Library for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Karen Halverson. 'Hite Crossing, Lake Powell, Utah' from the 'Downstream' series 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Hite Crossing, Lake Powell, Utah from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

Karen Halverson. 'Lodore Canyon, Dinosaur National Monument' 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Lodore Canyon, Dinosaur National Monument from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

Karen Halverson. 'Boulder Beach, Lake Mead, Nevada' from the 'Downstream' series 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Boulder Beach, Lake Mead, Nevada from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941) 'Wahweap Pool, Lake Powell, Arizona' 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Wahweap Pool, Lake Powell, Arizona from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

 

To celebrate the expansion and reinstallation of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens presents an exhibition of works from American photographer Karen Halverson’s Colorado River series, on view May 30 through Sept. 28, 2009. Downstream: Colorado River Photographs of Karen Halverson will be on display in the Scott Galleries’ Susan and Stephen Chandler Wing, inaugurating a new changing exhibition space that will highlight photography and works on paper that, because of the fragile nature of the medium, cannot be placed on permanent display.

The exhibition will feature 26 works from Halverson’s Downstream series as well as a sampling of images from The Huntington’s historic holdings related to the Colorado River region, including photographs from John Wesley Powell’s pioneering expedition down the Colorado in 1871 and a snapshot album compiled in 1940 by Mildred Baker, one of the first women to successfully navigate the river from Green River, Wyo., to Boulder (now Hoover) Dam.

Halverson (b. 1941) says she woke one wintry morning in 1994 convinced that she needed to photograph the Colorado River. An accomplished landscape photographer who had already spent 20 years exploring the American West, she embarked on a two-year encounter with the vast terrain along the river’s serpentine route.

The desire to explain, understand, and experience the 1,700-mile river – which originates in Wyoming and Colorado before converging in Utah toward its terminus in Mexico – has exerted a powerful influence on a long line of explorers, scientists, thrill seekers, writers, artists, and photographers. Once largely wild, the modern river has been tamed by dams built to slake the American West’s thirst for water and power. Today the river’s reservoirs supply 30 million people.

“In her resonant imagery, Halverson speaks both to this immutable, rugged past while confronting the river’s complicated and often contested present,” says Jennifer Watts, curator of photographs at The Huntington.

Lush green riverbanks frame a seemingly remote Colorado River in Shafer Trail, Near Moab, Utah – a dramatic departure from the river-turned-lake in Wahweap Marina, Lake Powell, Arizona, in which the setting sun illuminates a satellite dish, a trio of passersby, and a jumble of houseboats set against distant rock outcroppings. Davis Gulch, Lake Powell, Utah captures Halverson’s voice especially succinctly: the power of nature in the form of a gigantic sandstone wall dwarfing a tiny group of plastic lawn chairs, lined up along the river bank, with not a soul in sight.

“In my travels along the Colorado,” says Halverson, “sometimes I find beauty, sometimes desecration, often a perplexing and absurd combination.”

Halverson’s large-format colour photography references the 19th-century era of exploration when the United States, still reeling from the Civil War, saw photographers fan across the West to make pictures for scientific and commercial ends. Many of these iconic views by William H. Bell, John K. Hillers, Timothy O’Sullivan and others form the core of The Huntington’s superlative photography collection. Halverson consulted these works in preparation for her own trips.

The two years Halverson spent hiking, driving, and rafting along the Colorado brought her to a more profound understanding of the river and her relationship to it. During her travels, Halverson wrote, “I feel my place, small and finite in relation to space and time: I feel my self, expansive and trusting.”

Text from The Huntington Library website [Online] Cited 12/06/2009 no longer available online

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941) 'Big River, California' 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Big River, California from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941) 'Davis Gulch, Lake Powell' 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Davis Gulch, Lake Powell from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

 

“In my travels along the Colorado, sometimes I find beauty, sometimes desecration, often a perplexing and absurd combination.”

.
Karen Halverson

 

 

One wintry morning in1994, Karen Halverson (b. 1941) awoke convinced she needed to photograph the Colorado River. An accomplished artist who had already spent 20 years exploring the American West, she set off on a two-year encounter with the vast, breathtaking terrain along the river’s serpentine route. “The impulse to photograph the Colorado River came to me out of the blue,” she writes, “but I acted on it as if it were my destiny.” Personal destiny and the Colorado River have long been linked in the lives of the explorers, scientists, writers, artists, and thrill seekers who have sought to understand and experience this remarkable river.

“Nature appears to have been partial to this stream,” noted “Captain” Samuel Adams, who described the river in 1869. The Colorado and its major tributary, the Green River, run 1,700 miles from headwaters in the Rocky Mountains and Wyoming’s Wind River Range to a terminus in Mexico. Sheer size helps explain the river’s enduring allure; the Colorado’s gargantuan watershed covers a quarter of a million miles and runs through seven states. The Colorado is the riparian centre and symbol of the American West. Once wild, the river has been tamed by dams built to slake the arid West’s demand for water and power; 30 million people are dependent on it today.

Halverson’s large-format colour photography alludes to a 19th-century era of exploration when photographers fanned out across the West to make pictures for scientific and commercial ends. Iconic views by William H. Bell (1830-1910), John K. Hillers (1843-1925), Timothy O’Sullivan (ca. 1840-1882), and others captured timeless landscapes of fierce, often forbidding, beauty. Halverson looked at these works in preparation for her trips, viewing them as documentary and visual points of departure for her own image making. Beyond the debt she owes these photographic pioneers, Halverson is firmly rooted in a late 20th-century aesthetic that comments on humanity’s use, and misuse, of the environment.

Beginning in the 1970s, a group of photographers, almost all of them men – who are now sometimes called the “New Topographers” – used their cameras to criticise the effects of rampant urban and suburban growth on western lands. Sprawling cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas owe their existence almost entirely to the importation of water from the Colorado River. As Halverson rightly claims, today the river is a “water delivery system,” with its dozens of reservoirs, dams, and diversions ensuring the allocation of virtually every drop for human needs.

Yet Downstream is no visual jeremiad railing against environmental abuse. Nor is it a dispassionate travelogue of the two years Halverson spent hiking, driving, and rafting along the Colorado. The wild terrain that flabbergasted early explorers is still here in the Paleozoic strata of gigantic rock outcroppings, the ancient calm of ghostly canyons, the dizzying heights overlooking a ribbon of water far below. And the colours – ochre, cerulean blue, deep red, electric green – are all intensified against the palette of a dammed river running colder and deeper than if it flowed freely. A modern-day beauty even finds itself inscribed in steel and concrete, whether in the sleek form of a pipeline or the still surface of an irrigation canal.

But it is in the bizarre, sometimes humorous, intersections of past and present that Downstream gains its potency. Cheap plastic lawn chairs, sitting vacant, look puny and ridiculous against a looming canyon wall. Weekend revellers pump fists skyward on the shores of Lake Mead, a giant reservoir held in place by Hoover Dam. A garden hose waters a scrawny palm tree in a desert oasis populated by rows of RVs.

What is gained and what is lost by controlling the Colorado River? And what are the river’s limits? Halverson’s Downstream series asks the viewer to contemplate these questions in a time when the arid West’s thirsty population threatens to overwhelm technological as well as natural resources, and when our well-watered urban lives remain utterly disconnected from riparian realities. Through her resonant imagery, Halverson speaks to the immutability of the river’s past while confronting its complex, contested present and future.

Jennifer A. Watts, Curator of Photographs from The Huntington Library Halverson Gallery guide [Online] Cited 28/02/2019

 

Karen Halverson. 'Near Palo Verde, California' 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Near Palo Verde, California from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941) 'Imperial Dam, near Yuma, Arizona' 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Imperial Dam, near Yuma, Arizona from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941) 'Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Wyoming' 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Wyoming from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941) 'Shafer Trail, Near Moab, Utah' 1994-95

 

Karen Halverson (American, b. 1941)
Shafer Trail, Near Moab, Utah from the Downstream series
1994-95

 

 

The Huntington Library
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA  91108

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
Closed Tuesdays

The Huntington Library website

Karen Halverson Photographs website

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03
Jan
09

Exhibition: ‘Dialogue among Giants: Carleton Watkins and the Rise of Photography in California’ at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Exhibition dates: 14th October 2008 – 1st March 2009

 

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829-1916) (attributed) 'Placer Mining Scene' c. 1852-55

 

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829-1916) (attributed)
Placer Mining Scene
c. 1852-55
Half-plate daguerreotype
4 x 5 in. (10.2 x 12.7 cm)

 

 

Carleton Watkins was a master photographer, craftsman, technician and, above all, a refined artist. The structural cadences of his compositions, like the best music, are superb. Within his photographs he creates a visual dialogue that sustains pertinent inquiry by the viewer  – the look! see! – that has lasted centuries, as all great art does. Today his photographs are as clearly seen, as incisive of mind, as when they were first produced. They delight.

From the documentary photographs of mining settlements to the images of Yosemite; from the stereographs of cities to the gardens of the rich and famous; from the photographs of untouched interior America to the images of the Monterey Peninsula Watkins photographs are sharply observed renditions of a reality placed before the lens of his giant plate camera.

Like all great artists his eye is unique. His use angle, height and placement of the camera is reinforced by his understanding of the balance of light and shade, the construction of planes within the image and the spatial relationships that could be achieved within the frame (at the same time we note that the artist Cezanne was also investigating the deconstruction of traditional landscape perspectives within the image frame). His work reminds me of the photographs of the great French photographer Eugene Atget: both men understood how best to place the camera to achieve the outcome they wanted so that the photographs became imprinted with their signature, images that nobody else could have taken. Today we recognise both men as masters of photography for this very fact. The images they took raise them above the rank and file photographer because of the care and understanding they took in the decisions they made in the exposure of the negative.

As a precursor to modernism in photography Watkins does not have peer at this time. His photographs preempt the 20th century modernist work of Paul Strand and Alfred Stieglitz, his Monterey and Yosemite photographs the work of Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, and in his Japanese influences the work of Minor White. Even today at the exhibition by Andreas Gursky at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne there is a colour work of a body of water (see below: Rhein 1996) that closely reflects the structure of Watkins View on the Calloway Canal, near Poso Creek, Kern County 1887, even though the subject matter of Gursky’s image is a simulacra of an implied reality, whereas Watkins work “served as evidence in a water rights lawsuit that eventually resulted in a decisive court ruling that prevented newcomers from diverting water from existing landowners.”1

Watkins cadence as a sentient being will endure in the choices he made in the photographs he exposed. His tempo, his innate ability to place the camera, his understanding of the light and shade, texture, environment, depth of field and feeling make this artist one that all aspiring artists – no, all human beings – should study.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to the J. Paul Getty Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Carleton Watkins. 'Yosemite Valley from the Best General View No.2.' 1866

 

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829-1916)
Yosemite Valley from the Best General View No.2
1866
Albumen silver print
41 x 52.2 cm (16 1/8 x 20 9/16 in.)

 

 

Carleton Watkins had the ability to photograph a subject from the viewpoint that allowed the most information to be revealed about its contents. In this image, he captured what he considered the best features of Yosemite Valley: Bridalveil Falls, Cathedral Rock, Half Dome, and El Capitan. By positioning the camera so that the base of the slender tree appears to grow from the bottom edge of the picture, Watkins composed the photograph so that the canyon rim and the open space beyond it seem to intersect. Although he sacrificed the top of the tree, he was able to place the miniaturised Yosemite Falls at the visual centre of the picture. To alleviate the monotony of an empty sky, he added the clouds from a second negative. This image was taken while Watkins was working for the California Geological Survey. His two thousand pounds of equipment for the expedition, which included enough glass for over a hundred negatives, required a train of six mules. (Text from the J. Paul Getty Museum website)

 

Carleton Watkins. "The Dalles, Extremes of High & Low Water, 92 ft" 1883

 

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829-1916)
The Dalles, Extremes of High & Low Water, 92 ft
1883

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927) 'Saint Cloud' 1904

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Saint Cloud
1904

 

Carleton Watkins. "Cypress Tree at Point Lobos, Monterey County" 1883 - 1885

 

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829-1916)
Cypress Tree at Point Lobos, Monterey County
1883 – 1885

 

 

In 1850, at the age of 20, Carleton Watkins is believed to have arrived in California from New York via South America. He embarked on a life in photography that began auspiciously during the gold rush (which started in 1849) and ended abruptly with the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire that destroyed his negatives. In between those historic moments, Watkins witnessed an era in which a recurring theme was the enormity of all things in the West. He photographed the expansive western landscape with its miles of coastline, vast natural resources, colossal trees, and the monoliths of the Yosemite Valley using an oversize mammoth-plate camera.

In the 1860s Watkins’s Yosemite photographs brought him fame from as far away as Paris, but a decade later he experienced a painful financial reversal. In the end, he died a pauper in 1916 after a life that brought him into dialogue with the many “giants” of his era. The photographs he left behind provide a unique personal vision of the birth and growth of California.

 

Mining Scenes and Daguerreotypes

After arriving in Sacramento in 1850, Watkins worked delivering supplies to the mines during the gold rush. As he traveled throughout the region, he applied his new photography skills by making daguerreotypes (an early photographic technique using silver-coated, polished copper plates). In 1852, he is believed to have taken up photography full time, making daguerreotypes as a freelance “outdoor man” for established studios in Sacramento, Marysville, and San Francisco.

Among the most important photographs created in California before about 1855 are more than 100 daguerreotypes of buildings and landscapes, the majority of which have not been attributed. Many represent the San Francisco Bay Area and the mother lode regions northeast of Sacramento, where Watkins lived from 1850 to 1853 – a fact that geographically positions him in the right place at the right time to have been their maker. This exhibition compares select daguerreotypes by unknown makers with securely identified photographs by Watkins. On the basis of style and other circumstantial evidence, it is possible that Watkins may have made many of the daguerreotypes.

 

Yosemite

Watkins first visited Yosemite Valley in the late 1850s and then returned to Yosemite several times in the 1860s and 70s with a new mammoth-plate camera designed to expose collodion-on-glass negatives that were 18-by-22 inches in size. With this equipment, he created the pictures that soon brought him international fame.

Watkins was not the only photographer who made images of Yosemite. Charles L. Weed and Eadweard Muybridge both followed Watkins into Yosemite, and the photographers often re-created one another’s views. This exhibition explores the visual dialogue in Yosemite between Watkins, Weed, Muybridge, and the unidentified camera operator for Thomas Houseworth and Company, who may have actually been Watkins.

 

Pacific Coast

Watkins was best known for his photographs of Yosemite, but he also took his camera to the silver mines of Nevada and Arizona, and up and down the Pacific coast. Throughout his career he applied his understanding of the elements of landscape as art. His early work with mining subjects proved to be excellent training for his eventual vision of landscape as a powerful counterbalance to the fragility of human existence. He harnessed the elements of visual form – line, shape, mass, outline, perspective, viewpoint, and light – to enliven often static motifs in nature.

Watkins photographed the Monterey Peninsula in the 1880s, recording the scenery in a continuously unfolding progression along Seventeen-Mile Drive, which began and ended at the Hotel Del Monte. Near the hotel, Watkins created this image of a native cypress – windblown and with its roots exposed – clinging to the side of a rocky cliff. Many distinguished photographers, among them Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, followed Watkins over the years along this same stretch of coast, photographing similar subjects.

Text from the J. Paul Getty Museum website

 

Carleton Watkins. 'View on the Calloway Canal, near Poso Creek, Kern County' 1887

 

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829-1916)
View on the Calloway Canal, near Poso Creek, Kern County
1887
Albumen silver print
37.5 x 53 cm (14 3/4 x 20 7/8 in.)

 

 

Andreas Gursky (German, b. 1955)
Rhein II
1996

 

  1. For more information please see the J. Paul Getty web page about this image.

 

 

The J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, California 90049

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5.30pm
Saturday 10am – 9pm
Sunday 10am – 9pm
Monday closed

The J. Paul Getty Museum website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Sleep/Wound’ 1995-96


Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: 'Sleep/Wound' 1995-96 *PLEASE NOTE THIS POSTING CONTAINS PHOTOGRAPHS OF MALE NUDITY - IF YOU DO NOT LIKE PLEASE DO NOT LOOK, FAIR WARNING HAS BEEN GIVEN*

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