JOHN SEXTON PHOTOGRAPHY NEWSLETTER
- A NOTE FROM JOHN
- 10 PERCENT DISCOUNT SPECIAL FOR EMAIL LIST MEMBERS
AT VENTANA EDITIONS ONLINE STORE!
- SEXTON EXHIBITION AT ANSEL ADAMS GALLERY
RECEPTION & GALLERY TALK - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6
- "BRETT WESTON: PHOTOGRAPHER" DVD
- "ORCHESTRATING ICONS" BOOK BY HUNTINGTON WITHERILL
- FILM IS STILL ALIVE AT EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY
- SOME THOUGHTS ON PHOTOGRAPHY... AND OTHER TOPICS
It has been over nine months since my last email newsletter. I mentioned at the onset of sending out these informal communications that they would be "irregular," but never anticipated such a lapse in their publication. Some explanation is in order...
As some of the readers of this newsletter know, my father, Bill Sexton, was in a battle with cancer during the past few years. His health took a serious turn for the worse in mid-February. For several months, his life was filled with pain, suffering, and extensive hospitalization. During the spring months my wife, Anne, and I made a number of unplanned trips to Southern California to be with him and his wife, Barbara, each time things became critical. Finally, on June 7th, just two days after we returned from our last visit with him, he passed away. As sad as it was, it was truly a blessing for him, as well as all of us who were close to him.
The time spent trying to care for him, and the necessary details following his passing - along with long-standing workshop and lecture commitments - virtually "erased" the first seven months of the year. Not only did all of these efforts consume an incredible amount of physical time, but I was amazed how the emotional drain virtually quenched my creative spirit and energy.
In August, Anne and I were finally able to get back to photography during a trip to Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, following my annual two-week workshop at Anderson Ranch. It felt good to be photographing again, and making new negatives.
As you will see below, I have an exhibition opening in just a few days, and I am pleased that there will be some new work included in the selection of prints on display. It was exciting to "sneak" in some darkroom time to print a few of my new negatives for the show - while trying to complete my long overdue "Darkroom Edition 2003" printing project, along with other postponed commitments.
I hope that all has been going well for you photographically and otherwise, and I wish you the best as the Holiday season approaches - and for the coming New Year.
I will try to make my email communications to you more frequent, and perhaps even slightly more regular!
10 PERCENT DISCOUNT COUPON FOR EMAIL NEWSLETTER READERS
ON ALL ORDERS AT THE VENTANA EDITIONS ONLINE STORE
Well, as amazing as it seems, the Holidays are just around the corner. With that in mind, our email newsletter readers can receive 10 percent off of all purchases at the Ventana Editions online store through December 15. This special offer applies to all items ordered, including the recently added Brett Weston DVD and Huntington Witherill book listed below. The special offer is available only to members of email list.
To receive this special 10 percent discount, simply enter the code "•••••" (without quotation marks) into the 'COUPON CODE' section of the secure web order form. Please remember to enter the coupon code during the checkout procedure to receive your special discount.
The Ventana Editions online store can be found at:
If you prefer, you may also place an order by calling Ventana Editions toll free at 888-390-4545 or 831-659-3130, Monday through Thursday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, Pacific Time. Just remember to mention the special email discount code "•••••" when placing your order. UPS Ground shipping (within the 48 continental United States) is only $5 for an entire order, no matter how many items are included. To ensure delivery in plenty of time for Holiday gifts be sure to order soon!
EXHIBITION AT THE ANSEL ADAMS GALLERY - MONTEREY
RECEPTION - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6th, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
GALLERY TALK 6:00 to 6:30 PM
EXHIBITION ON DISPLAY THROUGH JANUARY 24th
I am pleased to have an exhibition currently on display at The Ansel Adams Gallery in Monterey. The exhibit includes some of my "old favorites," along with some of the new prints that I have just made in the past few weeks.
I will be presenting a gallery talk this Saturday, December 6th from 6:00 to 6:30 pm. Immediately following my talk, there will be an opening reception. The Ansel Adams Gallery always does a great job with refreshments and such. So, if you're in the area, drop by Saturday evening for a visit, and to see the show. After all... it's not much fun to be the only person at your exhibition opening!!! <g>
Just the other day I was digging through some old files, and came across some paperwork that reminded me that it was way back in 1980 when I had my first exhibition at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite - 23 years ago!!! This was the first exhibition at the Gallery by a photographer other than Ansel in many years. I have been fortunate to have had a number of exhibitions at the Ansel Adams Gallery during the years since 1980, and I am again honored to have prints on display there again.
Here is the contact information for the Ansel Adams Gallery:
The Ansel Adams Gallery
685 Cannery Row, #113
Monterey, California 93940
BRETT WESTON: PHOTOGRAPHER DVD BY ART WRIGHT
NOW AT VENTANA EDITIONS' ONLINE STORE
I was thrilled to receive an email from my old friend Art Wright a couple of months ago announcing that a 16mm black and white film he made in the early 70's about our mutual friend, Brett Weston, was now available on DVD. I showed this film every semester during the time I taught photography in Southern California. It is, without a doubt, the best and most accurate portrait of Brett's distinctive personality -- a personality of passion, and even obsession, for photography.
Art made this film during photographic trips with Brett in Oregon, Death Valley, the Alabama hills, Westgard Pass, as well as Brett's favorite haunt - Point Lobos. Also included in the footage is Brett working in the darkroom, along with a gala opening of Brett's work at the Friends of Photography in 1971. The black and white film is an honest and candid portrayal of a unique person, whose dedication to photography and imagery I greatly respect. As a terrific bonus, there are 892 of Brett's images - from the Brett Weston archive - included on the DVD! Finally, there are audio tracts by Beaumont Newhall, Nancy Newhall, Don Ross, and Merle Armitage, along with an interview with Brett.
When I first viewed the DVD with students in Colorado, I wondered how the film would stand the test of time. (The last time I had seen it was in early 1979). I have to say that the film holds up beautifully. I was inspired to go out and make photographs of even the most prosaic subjects after viewing the film. In addition, it gives a wonderful taste of Brett's sense of humor... listen carefully to the sound track!!!
To order online, go to:
HUNTINGTON WITHERILL BOOK "ORCHESTRATING ICONS"
AVAILABLE AT VENTANA EDITIONS ONLINE STORE
I am pleased to have the beautiful book, "Orchestrating Icons," by my long-time friend Huntington Witherill now available through the Ventana Editions web store. This book is filled with luminous landscape images that clearly reveal Huntington's sensitive vision along with his consummate skill as a printmaker.
This award winning hardcover edition contains 108 pages, with 84 tritone reproductions, along with a foreword by noted photographer Paul Caponigro. In addition, a Selenium toned silver gelatin tip-in print is also bound into the book.
As will all of the books at the Ventana Editions web store, "Orchestrating Icons" is autographed by the photographer.
For more details on the book, or to order online go to:
TRADITIONAL FILM AND PAPER ARE STILL ALIVE AT EASTMAN KODAK
On September 25th, there was a disturbing story, by James Bandler, in the Wall Street Journal discussing Eastman Kodak's future plans as they related to traditional film photography and digital imaging technologies. The title of the article was, "Kodak Shifts Focus From Film, Betting Future on Digital Lines." Here is the opening sentence of that article:
"Finally yielding to technology changes that have made its signature product outdated, Eastman Kodak Co. is preparing a big strategic move away from traditional film and plans to bet its future on new digital markets."
The entire WSJ article can be viewed at:
The above statement, and the article in general, caused concern among professional photographers, and serious photographic enthusiasts, alike. If the number of phone messages, emails, and notes I personally received are any indication, there were MANY, MANY individuals concerned that Kodak was "abandoning" traditional silver halide photographic materials.
I quickly contacted some friends at Kodak, to see what was up. I learned that many others had expressed concern about the Wall Street Journal article. I also learned that Kodak did, indeed, have an ongoing commitment to traditional silver halide photographic products, but this had not been mentioned in the article. I was sent a copy of an Eastman Kodak press release that was issued the day after the Wall Street Journal article had appeared. Here is the text of that press release in its entirety:
"Friday, September 26, 2003
Regarding Kodak's Sept. 25 investors meeting and the resulting reports and rumors:
Please be assured that Eastman Kodak Company remains fully committed to anticipating and meeting our customers' needs for film, whether these end-users are professional photographers, advanced amateurs or hobbyists, or consumer picture-takers. We know that these customers depend on their camera to record their special memories, whether the images are of everyday moments or special once-in-a-lifetime events. We remain dedicated to maintaining our leadership in the film market through a clear understanding of customer needs combined with related product planning, development, manufacture, marketing and sales.
To affirm this intention, we highlight the eight new or upgraded films introduced to the professional and consumer markets within the last two years alone. These include new color negative films (KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA Films and KODAK High Definition Films), color reversal films and new black & white films. We are very pleased that these films have received terrific acceptance by our customers. We also introduced numerous new high-quality papers for both the consumer and professional markets to ensure beautiful, long lasting images.
Kodak is committed to ensuring that our customers have increasing capabilities and opportunities to take, share, print and manage their images. While Kodak management acknowledged during the Investors' Meeting that the worldwide film market is declining, they reinforced our ongoing participation in film and a broader investment in image printing, sharing and image management capabilities. We believe that our professional, advanced amateur and consumer photography customers will be pleased by these directions."
You can view this document by following this link:
While the above Kodak press release is somewhat reassuring, it is important for all of us interested in traditional silver halide photography to realize that we are likely at a point where all photographic manufacturers are polishing their crystal balls as they look toward the future. As I mentioned in my newsletter last February it is imperative, if you truly LOVE the traditional materials you are working with, to continue to BUY and USE them. Sales represent the universal language that all manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers understand. To sit back and lament the passing of an era is fine, but as I mentioned before, purchase the materials that you value and cast your vote for their continued production
I was encouraged two years ago when Kodak decided to invest a SIGNIFICANT amount of money and resources to move the production of their black and white professional films into one of the most modern emulsion coating facilities on the planet. I doubt that they undertook this effort to simply "give up" on film and paper production. I was privileged to be a small part of the project as a consultant.
I try to make a conscious effort to use the materials that are important to my work. For example, I make all of my contact proof prints on the same fiber-based paper that I use for exhibition prints - rather than less expensive and faster to process resin coated papers. This is a small thing, but at this point I think we all need to pursue seemingly small decisions - which when done by many may amount to something larger than we could imagine. We all have only a limited amount of financial resources to invest in our tools, and we should continue to cast our votes on a regular basis for those tools that work best for us. Remember... "Vote early, and vote often!"
In addition, be sure to communicate regularly with photographic manufacturers, via their toll-free numbers or web sites. Tell them how valuable the products they make are to you, and your photography. This can do nothing but help let manufacturers know that there are people out there who appreciate and use their products. I would prefer to change the tools that I work with when it is MY choice, rather than a manufacturer's marketing decision. Long live silver!!!
SOME THOUGHTS ON PHOTOGRAPHY... AND OTHER TOPICS
Memorable statements worth noting...
"Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess."
- Edwin H. Land (inventor of Polaroid instant photography
"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams
CONTACT US WITH QUESTIONS, OR COMMENTS:
Post Office Box 30
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
THE FINE PRINT
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Copyright © 2003 John Sexton. All rights reserved.