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JOHN SEXTON PHOTOGRAPHY NEWSLETTER
September 2016



 


Greetings,

In my last eNewsletter – sent out just over a month ago – I mentioned how fortunate Anne and I were to have “survived” the Soberanes Fire without having to evacuate and with no damage to our home. For those that do not live in the area, you may be surprised to know that the Soberanes Fire continues to burn after 70 days in the rugged Los Padres National Forest. The fire now has the dubious distinction of being the most expensive wildland fire in the history of the United States Forest Service with the cost currently well over $200,000,000. The fire has currently burned over 129,000 acres and is approximately 92% contained. Just over a week ago the air quality in Carmel Valley was so poor that one news story said it was worse than a bad smoggy day in Beijing, China – not the typical clear air we are normally so fortunate to enjoy in Carmel Valley. There are still over 1,400 firefighters battling the blaze. All because of a single illegal campfire!

Thanks to all who sent notes of concern and good wishes to Anne and me. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and want to reiterate that our home is not in danger from the fire. Our thoughts now go out to those impacted by the Loma Fire which erupted late Monday afternoon about 45 miles north of us in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It has now burned approximately 4,000 acres with about 25% containment.

I am currently busy with a pre-operative therapy program in anticipation of my total knee replacement surgery in early November, shortly after we return from our annual Mono Lake workshop with Charlie Cramer. Fortunately, I have had great results from an injection of Synvisc-One, which has increased my comfort and mobility. This has also allowed me to spend some more time working in the darkroom in preparation for not being able to work following the recuperation period after my surgery. Again I want to express thanks to those who sent emails concerning my upcoming my new “bionic” knee. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Anne is releasing a Special Collectors Edition print which is described below. I am a bit biased, but those of you who have seen Anne’s small jewel-like prints, in exhibitions or during workshops, know the subtlety and luminosity she is able to convey. She has a gift for finding great beauty in even the most prosaic of subjects. This is a rare opportunity to get one of her prints with a short delivery time (both Anne and I are slow workers in the darkroom!), and at a great price.

In November we will be announcing the dates and opening up the enrollment process for the 2017 Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra: Exploring Autumn Light workshop with Charlie Cramer, along with other future workshops.

I hope you find some items of interest in the articles below.

Have a great autumn ahead!

John

 

 


 

ORIGINAL SILVER GELATIN PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT BY ANNE LARSEN
AVAILABLE ONLINE AT SPECIAL DISCOUNT PRICE FOR A LIMITED TIME

I have been busy working in the darkroom for the past couple of weeks making prints in preparation for this Special Collector’s Edition Print offer. The image I have chosen is Curtain, Carmel Valley. From now until October 31, 2016 I am offering this 5x7" silver gelatin print for $360 - a 20% discount off of the normal gallery retail price of $450.

To place a secure online order for this print, follow this link: http://ventanaeditions.stores.yahoo.net/cucavaca.html

 

Curtain, Carmel Valley, California by Anne Larsen

Curtain, Carmel Valley, California
©1995 Anne Larsen. All rights reserved.

This image is one that has always held a very special place in my heart. I made the photograph about a year after moving to the United States from Denmark. At that time I did not feel my photography had a clear direction. I was still trying to figure things out from all of the changes I had experienced leaving my home country and starting a new life with John in California. In Denmark I worked for a very successful commercial studio in Copenhagen that specialized in food and beverage photography. It was a very hectic, and at times stressful job, but also very exhilarating. I made many photographs with my view camera every day for clients, and often found myself in the studio on the weekends photographing for myself. Adjusting to my new life here in the USA I sometimes felt a little lost, and felt I was loosing my “touch” making photographs. Just prior to making this photograph we had completed a Gift of the Commonplace workshop with Ruth Bernhard. During the workshop she shared with the group her famous quotation “Today is the Day!”

While I knew it was not going to be possible for me to make a new image every day, I gave myself the goal to make at least one new negative every week. I left my 4x5” view camera set up in our home to eliminate the excuse that I did not have time to get the camera out, set it up, and make a photograph. Once I embarked on this process my way of seeing changed. Suddenly I became much more aware of light, shadows, and texture. The first few weeks the images I made were adequate and nothing special. However, my photographic seeing became more spontaneous, and the process of photography was once again giving me great enjoyment.

I had often admired the light coming through the curtains in our bathroom, but this particular afternoon the light seemed exceptional. The trees outside were casting shadows onto the curtain and the window-screen created an interesting moiré pattern. I immediately got my camera and organized the image of the soft, wavy fabric on my ground glass. Before exposing the negative I turned on the light in the bathroom to fill in the shadows. I was very excited. I continued to work on this project of making at least one new negative each week for six months, and came up with a number of “keepers.” These images have stood the test of time for me, and are among those I still love to share with others. I hope you will enjoy my photograph, Curtain, Carmel Valley.

This silver gelatin, selenium toned print is approximately 5-5/8 x 7-1/4", personally printed by me, processed to current archival standards, signed, mounted, and matted to 14x17" on 100 percent rag museum board.

All prints ordered will be delivered by November 30, 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: info@johnsexton.com. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Pacific Time.

 

 


 

RAY McSAVANEY PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVE
UPDATES, INSIGHTS, AND TRIBUTES

For those who have been readers of this newsletter for the past couple of years, you may recall a unique installment from July 2014 honoring my long-time friend and fellow photographer, Ray McSavaney shortly after he passed away. Many readers made generous donations to the Friends of Ray fund to help preserve his photographic legacy. Ken and Tammy Karagozian became the caretakers of Ray's photographic archive. They, along with the help of a number of dedicated friends, "rescued" Ray's photographic materials from his loft during the last few days of his life. I want to share some good news, and update you on what has transpired over the past two years.

 

Ray McSavaney by Jack Waltman

Ray McSavaney - Photograph by Jack Waltman
©1981 Jack Waltman. All rights reserved.

A significant portion of Ray's photographic archive is now part of the permanent collection at The Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Ray's photographs, referred to by The Huntington as the Ray McSavaney Collection, join their considerable photographic holdings that include large bodies of work by many photographers, including Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. To learn more about their impressive photographic collection, which includes over 500,000 images with an emphasis on photographs from California, Los Angeles, and the western landscape, you can check out their online resources here.

It was Ray's strong desire that some of his archive would go to The Huntington to join a number of his prints they had collected during the last few years of his life. Ray had a great working relationship and friendship with Jennifer Watts, Curator of Photography at The Huntington.

I am pleased to share with you essays from three essential individuals who are directly responsible for the great success in finding a new home for Ray's photographs in the permanent collection at The Huntington. Follow this link to read the texts by Ken Karagozian, the caretaker of Ray's photographic archive; Janet Schipper who has contributed countless hours working with Ken, and her sister Joan, sorting, organizing, and cataloging the many items in Ray's archive; along with Jennifer Watts, the Curator of Photography at The Huntington Library. In addition, I suspect that you might see at least one image by Ray that you have not seen previously!

Anne and I were astonished when we visited Ken and Tammy Karagozian's home two years ago, which, at that time, had literally been "taken over" by Ray's prints, negatives, book collection, drawings, paintings, correspondence, files, and other personal items. I believe it is safe to say that all who have been involved in the process of protecting and preserving Ray's photographic archive have been impressed not only by his abilities, but also by his varied talents. Along with his photographic accomplishments, Ray was a gifted writer, designer, illustrator, woodworker, and painter.

Thanks to those that contributed so generously to the Friends of Ray fund two years ago. Your contributions provided the monetary fuel to allow this important work to take place. There are still monthly payments for climate-controlled storage of Ray's remaining materials, as well as expenses for purchasing additional archival materials – as Ken, Janet, and Joan, are still archiving, organizing, and cataloging additional items in Ray's archive. If you would like to make a donation to the Friends of Ray fund to assist with this ongoing work, or have any questions for Ken, you can contact him at raymcsavaneyarchive@gmail.com

 

 


THREE BEAUTIFUL WYNN BULLOCK BOOKS
NOW AVAILABLE AT THE VENTANA EDITIONS ONLINE STORE
ALL BOOKS ARE SIGNED BY BARBARA BULLOCK-WILSON

I first met the legendary photographer Wynn Bullock in the spring of 1974 at an Ansel Adams Gallery workshop in Yosemite. I later had the opportunity to visit Wynn and Edna at their home in Monterey. I would often bring a portfolio of photographs, seeking comments from Wynn. I would sometimes sit for hours on the floor of his living room mesmerized by his photographs, and at times honestly puzzled by the deep thinking and psychological observations he made about photography and the universe. I still have vivid memories of seeing Wynn's hauntingly beautiful prints, his darkroom, and negatives on the light table. As a young photographer having the opportunity to learn from, and getting to know, a true photographic hero was an amazing experience.

 

Wynn Bullock Books

 

Anne and I are very pleased to now have three of Wynn's photographic books available for sale at the Ventana Editions online store. All of the books are signed by his daughter Barbara Bullock-Wilson. Two of the books, Wynn Bullock: The Enchanted Landscape and Wynn Bullock: Photographing the Nude, are out of print and collectible volumes. In addition, we have the beautiful book Revelations, by Brett Abbott, with contributions by Barbara Bullock-Wilson and Maria L. Kelly. This 2014 monograph was published jointly by the High Museum of Art and the University of Texas Press to accompany the Museum's landmark exhibition of the same title.

You can find more information on these three books by Wynn Bullock, along with other photographic books that we have available, and place a secure online order at the Ventana Editions online store.
http://ventanaeditions.stores.yahoo.net/morebooks.html

We hope you will find these books of interest and inspirational. I certainly gained a great deal of inspiration from Wynn as a person, and also from his images. I do however have one regret… Wynn's special student price for prints was $125 and it was beyond my budget as a college student at the time. I still kick myself for not borrowing (or stealing!) enough money to purchase one of his prints – as I know it would still be an inspiration to me.

Along with enjoying these books, if you ever have the opportunity to see a Wynn Bullock exhibition I highly suggest you make every effort to attend. I clearly remember the first time I saw original prints by Wynn Bullock in 1973 at the Pasadena Museum of Modern Art. His images were mysterious and captivating, and were a beautiful accompaniment to the other two photographers in the exhibition, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. That exhibition changed not only my photography, but also my life.

 

 


CHARLIE CRAMER'S WONDERFUL NEW BOOK
YOSEMITE
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON

My long-time friend, co-instructor, and extremely talented photographer Charles Cramer has a brand new book, Yosemite, which has just been released in the USA. It was published by Triplekite, a small publishing firm in England. Charlie said, "I first became aware of them when they published a magnificent book of images by the great Swedish photographer, Hans Strand last year. Triplekite did a wonderful job, and so I was delighted when they asked me to do a book. I decided to make Yosemite the focus."

 

Yosemite book by Charlie Cramer

 

Yosemite is a beautiful, intimate jewel-like volume - 40 pages, with 35 color plates. It was first released in the UK this spring, and included an option for a Special Edition with an original print - which sold out immediately. The regular edition is available at Amazon.com. If you love photography and Yosemite, I am sure you will enjoy Charlie's book.

 


 

LEGENDARY PRINTER DAVID GARDNER PASSES AWAY AT AGE 91

Anne and I were saddened to learn the news that David Gray Gardner – a legend in the printing industry – passed away on August 27, 2016 at the age of ninety-one. This news was doubly sad to receive, as Dave's wife Barbara LaShelle Gardner passed away just a couple of weeks earlier on August 12. Dave's passing was on what would have been their 66th wedding anniversary. Dave and I were great friends for over thirty-five years.

I first met Dave Gardner in 1978 when I visited him at his business, Gardner/Fulmer Lithograph, in Fullerton, California. How that first meeting came to be is an interesting story. At the time I was living at my parents home and teaching photography for the North Orange County Community College District. I was good friends with the next-door neighbors and the entire family was aware of my interest in photography. Their son, Roger Wright, was a pressman at Gardner/Fulmer Lithograph, and from time to time he would kindly give me a sample of a photographic publication they had printed. The printing quality in both black and white and color was exceptional.

 

David Gardner and Ansel Adams Inspecting a Press Sheet
for Ansel's book, The Portfolios of Ansel Adams, 1981
©1981 James Alinder. All rights reserved.

At the time Bruce Barnbaum, Ray McSavaney, and I were co-directors of the Owens Valley Photography Workshops. My task each year was to oversee the printing of our humble workshop announcement. We did not have much of a budget for printing, and unfortunately the quality of reproductions left a lot to be desired. Each time we had a brochure printed I would show it to Roger seeking his comments and suggestions. This particular year, as I was contemplating trying out yet another printer, he suggested, "Why don't you show your project to Dave Gardner, who is the co-owner of the shop where I work. He is a big fan of Ansel Adams." I was aware of Gardner/Fulmer Lithograph's quality, but also knew that their prices were not within our very limited budget. In any event, I made an appointment and had a fascinating visit with Dave Gardner. He showed me samples of printing he had done, as well as the beautiful printing presses and their recently added laser scanner, which Dave had purchased primarily for reproducing black and white photographs. Dave studied our project carefully, offering some aesthetic and technical suggestions for the poster we planned to do, and said he would get back to me with an estimate soon.

Later that afternoon there was a knock at the kitchen screen door. It was Roger Wright. He relayed that following my meeting, Dave had came into the press room, stopped all work, and told the employees they were going to print a job that would be seen by Ansel Adams. Roger encouraged me, "No matter what the price, you should print the poster with us. It is going to turn out great!" A couple of days later I got the estimate and it was lower than I could have even imagined. That poster, which features a photograph by each of the instructors – Bruce Barnbaum, Henry Gilpin, Bruce Hall, Roger Minick, Ray McSavaney, and myself – still hangs on the wall in our studio, and looks great to this day.

I had no idea how that simple workshop poster would be the start of such a long professional relationship and close friendship with Dave Gardner. The response to the reproduction quality in our "new and improved" workshop announcement was phenomenal. We received compliments from students, as well as well-known photographers. I was shocked when I received a call from James Alinder – at the time the Director of the Friends of Photography in Carmel – asking about Gardner/Fulmer Lithograph. Dave Gardner would go on to print virtually all of the Friends of Photography's many publications for the remaining years of the organization's life, and also scores of Ansel Adams books, posters, and calendars. The following year Ansel hired me as his technical and photographic assistant, and as part of that job I had the great privilege of overseeing the press runs of the very first Ansel Adams posters and calendars at Gardner Lithograph. All four of my books were printed with Dave Gardner at the helm of the printing process at Gardner/Fulmer Lithograph, which became Gardner Lithograph, and more recently after Dave and his printing "brain trust" move to Dual Graphics – all located in Southern California.

Dave and I were both members of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Photography for a number of years, and always sat next to one another at board meetings – not only because we enjoyed one another's company, but because we seemed to share similar ideas and values. We would often pass notes back and forth during debates over various issues related to the Friends. Dave had been an English teacher and was a talented writer and editor. He also had a keen sense of design and was an incisive photographic critic. As much as he loved the challenge of reproducing photographs, it was clear he loved the idea of working with photographers and artists in creating something that would be a thing of beauty in and of itself.

Over a period of nearly forty years I learned a great deal about the lithographic printing process, collaborating on projects, about book making, photography, and indeed about life from David Gray Gardner. As many press checks would often span more than a week, we often would be dining with Dave and Barbara at their favorite restaurants, or at their beautiful home, in the evening. Along with great food and great wine there was great fellowship, as we debated topics of photography, motion pictures, books, and the world in general. The next time I do a press check it simply will not be the same because I will not have the opportunity to see Dave Gardner's beaming face when we sign off to approve a press sheet that is "just right."

 

 


BBC AUDIO BROADCAST
WORLD-RENOWNED PIANIST VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY ON ANSEL ADAMS

THE PRINT AND THE PERFORMANCE

BBC 3 Radio recently aired a wonderful 45-minute broadcast about Ansel and his musical talents as a pianist. Matt Willis, the producer, was in the area earlier this year and invited me to be interviewed as a part of the broadcast. Unfortunately, Anne and I were traveling in the Southwest on an extended photographic trip and I was not able to participate. However, a number of close friends are included and provide interesting insights into Ansel's passion for music and photography. The segment includes Ansel's daughter Anne Adams Helms, Ansel's son Michael Adams, Charlie Cramer (my workshop partner in crime for a number of years – who in addition to being a fine photographer is a gifted pianist - you can hear Charlie perform at the piano in the broadcast!), Ansel's Photographic Assistant prior to me Alan Ross, as well as others. A special aspect of the program is Ansel's favorite pianist, the world-renowned, Vladimir Ashkenazy!

 

Vladimir Ashkenazy at Adams House

Vladimir Ashkenazy at Michael and Jeanne Adams Home
Carmel, California, 2016

In 1982 the staff at Ansel's convinced Ashkenazy to do a private recital at Ansel's Carmel Highlands home for his 80th birthday. Ashkenazy had never before done a private concert! It turned out that Ashkenazy was already a fan of Ansel's photographs. It was such a great success that Ashkenazy returned for a repeat performance for Ansel's 82nd birthday party. That concert was scheduled for Easter Sunday 1984. Ansel had been hospitalized a couple of days before. However, he wanted the show to go on. Ashkenazy did his performance and visited with Ansel in the hospital following the recital. Sadly, later that night Ansel passed away.

Here is a link that will allow you to listen to the broadcast:
https://audioboom.com/boos/5063296-vladimir-ashkenazy-on-ansel-adams-the-print-and-the-performance

And, the link below allows one to download the program:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07vwg62

You can listen online or download an MP3 file of the entire 45-minute broadcast. I am sure you will find it interesting to hear Ansel perform on the piano so beautifully, and listen to the insightful comments by those mentioned above, a well as others. Enjoy!

 

Vladimir Ashkenasy by Ansel Adams

Vladimir Ashkenazy, Carmel, California, 1982
by Ansel Adams
©2016 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. All rights reserved.

 


 

 


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John Sexton
Post Office Box 30
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Voice: 831-659-3130
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