JOHN SEXTON PHOTOGRAPHY
- A NOTE
2016 has been an extremely busy year for Anne and me thus far, and it looks like it is going to continue that way through the end of the year and perhaps even further. Late last year I was surprised to learn during a follow-up visit to my retinal specialist that the cataracts in my eyes had significantly worsened in the past year. My physician strongly suggested I consider surgery, and the rest is history. I now have "new" eyes, and I have to say the difference in vision is amazing. I have worn prescription eyeglasses constantly since age seven, but I no longer need glasses for distance vsion. After my first eye surgery I could not stop talking about the clarity of vision I had without any corrective lens, and even more dramatically the color difference between my "new" and "old" eye. I ran some tests with my old Kodak Color Print Viewing Filter Kit and found I needed to add 30 units of yellow filtration (that's a lot of yellow!) for my new eye to match my old eye!
Anne and I had concerns about how I would feel about prints I had recently been working on in the darkroom. The first thing I did following my surgery was to go down in our studio and look at recent prints. As I had hoped, I liked the prints I had just made, as well as older prints, even better with my post-surgery eye compared with my old vision. The procedure was painless (aside from the expense!), and the difference is beyond anything I could ever have imagined.
We were able to dovetail my two surgeries in between the Fine Tuning and Expressive Black and White Print workshops. We had great groups on both workshops, and a very high percentage of international participants – which was humbling and exciting. A few of our participants had encountered some problems with Kodak Professional 120 size film. Be sure to read the text below if you are a photographer using Kodak 120 size film, as there is important information that could help you avoid having similar problems.
Sadly, over the last two months we lost four photographic friends. Al Weber, Chip Hooper, and Gene Bullock Wilson, all long-time residents of the Monterey Peninsula and good friends, left this planet. My dear friend, Vivian K. Walworth, Senior Research Manager, and close associate of Dr. Edwin H. Land, at Polaroid Corporation, for more than four decades, also passed away. I have written in more detail below about Al and Vivian. May all four of our friends rest in peace.
Anne and I hope that you have a great summer ahead, and that it will be filled with good photographs and good times – in the midst of the political craziness of this year's Presidential race!
NEW LIMITED EDITION PRINT BY JOHN SEXTON
I am pleased to announce a new Limited Edition print of a favorite image, Lower Cascade, Roaring Fork River, Near Aspen, Colorado. This photograph accompanied Arthur Ollman's foreword in my book Recollections. I enjoyed the challenge of printing this negative when making the print for the reproduction in the book, and have included the print in two museum exhibitions, but have never offered the print for sale – until now. I enjoy the intimate feeling of this smaller – rather than larger – reproduction in Recollections, and decided to offer this Limited Edition print in 8x10" size to maintain that intimacy.
The print is offered in a Limited Edition of 100 signed and numbered silver gelatin prints, plus 10 Artist's Proofs. When the edition is sold out no further prints will be made for sale in any size. The introductory price of this Limited Edition print is $800 - a 20% discount off of the normal retail price of an 8x10" Limited Edition print. After June 15, 2016 the retail price for any remaining prints will increase to $1,500, and escalate as the edition sells
To place a secure online order for this print, follow this link: Ventana Editions web store
Lower Cascade, Roaring Fork River
The photograph was made at dusk (as are many of my photographs!) along the Roaring Fork River a few miles upstream from Aspen, Colorado. This scenic stretch of river cuts through some amazing granite, forming beautiful polished, almost metallic, sculptural shapes in the rock. This image was made during my annual two-week Anderson Ranch workshop that I offered over a period of eighteen years. That particular year the water was quite low, which appealed to me. I had made similar images during previous visits (I love to return to the same place repeatedly to make photographs), but this particular evening the combination of the light, the wet sculpted granite, and the river level brought all of the elements together. I hope you will find this an interesting and abstract image, that contrasts the delicate nature of the water – further softened by the one minute exposure – with the wet granite that has been polished smooth over the eons by the rushing river.
This silver gelatin, selenium toned print is approximately 9-1/2 x 7-1/4", personally printed by me (as are all my prints), processed to current archival standards, signed, mounted, and overmatted to 14x17" on 100 percent rag museum board.
Prints will begin shipping on June 6, and all of prints ordered will be shipped no later than August 15, 2016.
All prints are carefully prepared and packaged in specially designed protective shipping boxes, and shipped fully insured via UPS ground. If you have any questions about the prints, please feel free to contact Anne at 831-659-3130, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Pacific Time.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR USERS OF 120 FORMAT KODAK PROFESSIONAL FILMS- PLEASE READ
As many readers are likely aware, I have used Kodak Professional film continuously for more than four decades. Over the years I have found Kodak film to be of the highest possible quality and consistency. However, anomalies can occur from time to time. There have been recent reports that appear to be associated with certain batches of 120 format Kodak Professional film.
The problem can easily be seen in the photograph below recently made by William Wetmore. I appreciate William allowing me to share this example with readers. You will notice the word Kodak clearly appears in the sky, along with frame number '13' multiple times. I first became aware of this situation a few months ago when a former workshop participant brought some online discussions on this topic to my attention. Unfortunately, as time has passed, I have encountered a number of students, colleagues, and friends who have experienced this exact problem.
©2016 William Wetmore. All rights reserved.
I have spoken at length with Thomas J. Mooney, Film Capture Business Manager at Kodak Alaris about this phenomenon. He told me "Kodak Alaris has had a limited number of inquiries for similar problems, and that the affected film may have seen some abnormal keeping after it left the factory (e.g. sat in a truck over a hot weekend, etc.). That said, we are taking this issue very seriously and have recently made modifications to the backing paper which we believe should minimize the potential for this type of blemish going forward."
Mr. Mooney has supplied me with the emulsion numbers - which I have listed below – where this latent image print issue could potentially be seen. If you have experienced problems, or have questions or concerns, you should email Profilm@Kodakalaris.com. This email address goes directly to Mr. Mooney, who will be able to answer your questions, address your concerns, and replace any problematic film you might have on hand or have used.
If you purchase new film you should make sure that the emulsion number, printed on the box as well as the individual foil packages, is higher than the suspect emulsion numbers listed below. All photographers can imagine the disappointment and frustration any of us would feel if this happened to any of our negatives. Please pass this important news on to your photographic friends.
Emulsion numbers that may exhibit the above problem only in Kodak 120 format roll film:
Kodak T-Max 400
Kodak T-Max 100
JOHN FEATURED IN NEW PODCAST SERIES "WHY" FROM SKIP COHEN UNIVERSITY
I was honored to be the inaugural guest in Skip Cohen University's new podcast series Why?. Skip and I have been friends for many years and worked together on a wide variety of projects. When he invited me to launch his new feature I was pleased to do so. He asked me to pick one of my favorite photographs, and I selected my image Corn Lily, Eastern Sierra Nevada, California, which appeared on the cover of my first book Quiet Light. Each week Skip asks a photographer why one of their images is special, what makes it unique, or what made it a favorite of the artist.
Each podcast episode is short and sweet (mine is about five minutes long). You can listen to the podcast at the Skip Cohen University website here http://www.skipcohenuniversity.com/scu-blog/why-with-john-sexton, or on my website here http://johnsexton.com/photobroadcasts.html.
My longtime friend, Al Weber, a talented photographer and gifted teacher, passed away on the morning of February 27, 2016. Al was nearly 86 years of age. I first met Al in 1973 when I was a student, and he was an instructor, at Ansel's annual Yosemite workshop. I clearly remember my portfolio review session with Al at that workshop. I nervously placed my prints on the freshly cleaned chalkboard rail in the Yosemite Valley Schoolhouse. Al carefully studied my group of prints – as he did with participants' portfolio – and then came over to me and said, "I hope we can still be friends when this is over." As you can imagine, this made me even more nervous!
Al's comments about my photographs were honest, direct, and accurate. He did not mince words as he pointed out the weaknesses in many of my prints, while at the same time pointing out the strengths, and encouraging me on my photographic journey. There were many problems with the prints I brought to that workshop, but they represented the best I could do at the time. We did remain friends, and I left the session inspired to work even harder, and with greater dedication, to improve my photographs.
Surf, San Gregorio Beach, California
Al's generosity, concern, and encyclopedic knowledge of photography was highly sought after by workshop participants, like myself. Over the years Al taught at numerous Ansel Adams Workshops. There was a brief period of time when Al was not instructing in Yosemite. I remedied that situation the first year I took over as Director of the Workshops, and had Al back as a workshop instructor until Ansel ended his long-running workshop series in Yosemite.
Al was an important person in my own photographic growth. I owe him a great debt for the information and inspiration he provided to me at Ansel's workshops in Yosemite, as well as frequent visits to his home in the Carmel Highlands – just a stone's throw from both Ansel's and Edward Weston's homes.
The number of workshops Al taught, and the students he inspired, over the years are both considerable. Today there are countless photographers working, and teaching, that were influenced by Al. His legacy is not only the fine photographs he leaves behind, but also the number of photographic "seeds" he "planted" in the various workshops and classes he conducted. Many of those "seeds" have "blossomed" into gifted and talented photographers, and photographic educators, that will continue to keep Al's luminous legacy alive. I know Al's wonderful wife Suzie and their family, will miss him greatly, as will many photographers, including me.
Rather than include a portrait of Al, I wanted to share my favorite Al Weber photograph, Surf, San Gregorio Beach, California, 1965. I remember Al showing this print during that Yosemite workshop in 1973. When the print was put on the easel it took my breath away, and still does today. When I was speaking with Suzie recently to ask her permission to include the image in this eNewsletter, she told me that she "was with Al when he made that photograph." That made the image even more personal and memorable to me, and perhaps to you.
I lost another close friend just over a month after Al Weber passed away. Vivian Walworth passed away at age 94 on March 29, 2016. Like Al Weber, I first met Vivian Walworth at an Ansel's workshop, but a few years later. I was an assistant at the Yosemite workshops, and Vivian was attending as part of Ansel's close relationship with Polaroid Corporation. At that time Vivian was the Senior Research Manager at Polaroid, and a long-time friend of Ansel and Virginia. Upon first meeting Vivian, I was impressed with her enthusiasm, energy, and encyclopaedic knowledge of photography.
Vivian Walworth visits John Sexton
We kept in touch following that first encounter, and remained friends over the decades. When I left Ansel's full time employment in late 1982 he was kind enough to write letters of recommendation to both Polaroid Corporation and Eastman Kodak Company, encouraging them to hire me as a photographic consultant. Much to my surprise, Eastman Kodak Company acted upon Ansel's recommendation first. Shortly thereafter I received an invitation from Polaroid Corporation. Unfortunately they had concerns as I was already a consultant for Kodak. You might recall the monumental litigation between Polaroid and Kodak over the instant photography process. Had it not been for Vivian's intervention, where she stated, "We have physicists that consult for both Polaroid and Kodak, why can't we have a photographer?" I don't believe my consulting position would have ever materialized at Polaroid. I was fortunate to serve as a consultant to both companies – thanks to Vivian's dedication and belief in me as a photographer and my photographic knowledge.
Over the years we would see one another, either in Cambridge, Massachusetts or on the Monterey Peninsula. Without exception, I learned something surprising from Vivian whenever we communicated. More importantly I was inspired by her own eagerness to enthusiasm to learn and discover - seemingly about everything!
Had it not been for Vivian I would never have had the opportunity to meet Dr. Edwin H. Land, the inventor of the Polaroid Land instant photography process. Vivian worked closely with Dr. Land from 1944 until she retired from Polaroid in 1985. However, just because she retired did not mean her work was done! She continued as a consultant, and In 2009, at the age of 87 years young, she and others from Polaroid founded StereoJet Incorporated, where she served as the President and CTO. As you can tell, Vivian certainly did not believe in "retirement" in the traditional sense of the word!
She was a scientist, inventor, scholar, author, editor, Senior Manager at Polaroid, role model, hiker, expert mycologist, and community leader in Girl Scouts and conservation programs in her town. At the same time she was a wife, mother, grandmother.
I am fortunate to have had a long friendship with Vivian, and there are no words that can express my gratitude for her support of my photographic endeavors. We had our last conversation a few weeks before she passed away. She was as "sharp as a tack," and was talking about future possible activities, though at the same time realizing there were health issues that might not allow those to happen. Sadly, such was the case. I, her loving and caring family, will miss her greatly. I would encourage you to do a web search on Vivian K. Walworth. I know you will find references to an unique and amazing person who blazed a trail in the scientific world during an era when men dominated the field. All of us that are photographers use technology, at the molecular level, that she helped to pioneer. More importantly, her heart was filled with compassion, excitement, and an amazing love for life.
Special thanks to Mary and John McCann, longtime friends and colleagues of Vivian, at Polaroid Corporation for their contributions to this text.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will open to the public again on May 14, 2016, following an impressive multi-year redesign integrating the dramatic 10-story Snøhetta expansion with the original 1995 Mario Botta-designed building. An important aspect of the new museum facility is the creation of the John and Liza Pritzker Center for Photography, which according to the museum will be "the largest exhibition space for photography and among the most advanced photographic arts centers of any museum in the United States." More than 15,500 square foot center will nearly triple the current amount of space for photography at SFMOMA, and extend the museum's long history and commitment to the medium. The Center will also feature an upgraded photographic study and interpretative space that will be the first of its kind in the country.
Drawing on the museum's collection, California and the West is one of two photography exhibitions that will inaugurate the reopening. Loosely organized chronologically from the gold rush to the present day, the show is epic, with 191 images revealing a wide variety of interpretations of 'landscape' in the American West.
This is exciting news for photographers and the general public. Anne and I are looking forward to seeing the new exhibition space and to enjoying exhibitions in the future. It is great to know there will always be photographic exhibitions at SFMOMA when visiting the San Francisco Bay Area.
For more information check out SF MOMA's website:https://www.sfmoma.org/artists-artworks/photography/.
Here’s a brief lighthearted video about an alleged new feature in Adobe Lightroom that allows you to turn any photograph into an “Ansel Adams Masterpiece!” It’s only a minute long - make sure you watch until the end. I suspect it will give you a chuckle. It certainly had that effect on me! Click here to enjoy the video: https://youtu.be/YquFtGZk4-c
THE FINE PRINT
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Sexton. All rights reserved.