Thos. Johnson exposed his students, to whom I was the teacher’s assistant, thru workshops that exposed me to, Ansel Adams and Wynn Bullock, both in their own homes. I did not know until that visit and seeing his grand piano that Ansel was also a classical pianist. When Mr. Bullock’s daughter welcomed us in, I said, “Were you the little girl in your father’s famous image of a small child laying naked in a bed of Ivy?” Yes, she was indeed that little girl, all grown up. Those two images will never leave my memory.
Then came time spent where my interest grew in galleries, in Carmel, California, with the amazing work of Edward Weston. When you see a show of Weston’s work, you literally see images sharper than the human eye, with a study in photography as a very fine art!
My studies and my work elevated from that point on. I was most overwhelmed by the group called F64, which included Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Ansel Adams and so many other great photographers. F64 refers to the F stop of 64, which was attained by large camera format and manipulation, generally of an 8 by 10 sheet film format, which was the smallest of F stops, thus the most sharpness one could attain with any focal plane. I have also been influenced by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and by books and stories of Paul Fusco about his friend and mentor, W. Gene Smith.
To this day I see in my mind’s eye the beautiful group of black and white images that Paul Fusco made of and about Caesar Chavez and the battle to bring fairness to the field workers in California. What a group of flawless, compelling and heartfelt look into those people’s lives, that Paul put together for Look magazine and for the show hung at the Studio Gallery. All of the images were flawless black and white images. Mr. Fusco then went to Magnum and produced the now famous photos taken of every day Americans along that train ride, which Robert Kennedy rode home, Paul capturing the emotions on that long path home for R.F.K.
I then went on to start a photo gallery in 1969-73, called the Studio Gallery which was upstairs at The Gibson House in Bolinas, California. I was exposed to and showed the work of Minor White, Pirkle Jones and his wife, Ruth Marion Baruch, a fine photographer. Also show was Thos. Johnson, Paul Fusco and Brett Weston (son of Edward Weston). The arts section of the San Francisco newspapers started to mention and show our gallery schedule and we had many visitors from the bay area, even though we were a few hours from the city. We were recognized as a serious gallery and for a struggling gallery curator and photo instructor on three campuses that was very rewarding. So was the following for a 20 year old man, who was studying with me and watching the gallery for a day I could not be there.
One day our gallery was visited (with my apprentice in the Baulinas Craftsman Guild, Jim Jacobmeyer) by a local but world-renown and outspoken photographer who, in 1901, made the very first images of nudes on film, Imogen Cunningham. Jim handled the situation well, to say the least.
Ansel Adams was to be the next show, but I relocated to the Pacific Northwest, where I continued making images, and received a Washington State Arts Commission Grant for making a travelling show called “Reflections” made up of images about life in the shadows of Mt. Rainier, Washington.
I practiced and continued my romance with photography in the Northwest, by teaching and making images that make up some of this show, representing work from 1965 thru 2007. Since then, I have been enjoying photographing our 6 grandchildren and my 89 year old God Father, with a digital camera. Oh the joy, and yet another chapter in my path with photography.
Recently, I was made aware of a renaissance of film, chemicals and most photographic paper, from who else, but that apprentice who is now teaching the artist. So a new darkroom in the next few months and my romance with making and printing images has been rekindled. I do have thousands of negatives to print from, and the idea of making new images warms my heart with my craft. A new chapter is yet to come.
My last public showing until now, was a gallery in San Francisco, in 2007, where I was living with my wife, Judi D’Accardo, whom I have to give so much credit and appreciation for her part in making this show possible.
In 2013, during a freak pruning mishap on our small orchard in Sweet Home, Oregon, started the process of a detached retina. After 4 surgeries, the sight in my right eye is still in the process of being restored as much as possible. Without depth perception, I had to rely on Judi’s good eyes and long hours to re-matte and re-corner my work that make up this exhibition.
I must also thank the amazing energy of Jim Jacobmeyer, who has made this show happen, and as the founder of the Artisan’s Sanctuary an ongoing and still to grow gift to the arts. Please note the Jim Jacobmeyer image in my show. He became a flawless printer in the time we spent together, proving that an apprentice and craftsperson can be a very beneficial approach to both parties. Jim has gone on to become a great teacher and educator! Jim is still finding his niche in a great format, the future of the Artisan’s Sanctuary. Where it goes is Jim’s dream.Now your eyes can see what they see of what I saw when I made these images. I will say no more of my work, hopefully it will speak, as photo images should, on their own.
This showing is dedicated to Sal D’Accardo, family elder,and his dear departed wife Dora.
My interest in photography was part of my search for a medium that allowed me to practice my own control of the black and white medium, starting with manipulation of film thru exposure and negative development, on to the same control with the final print, thru paper choice and manipulation under the enlarger and of its development and processing.
My influence started with studying with Thos. Johnson at the College of Marin, Kentfield, California, he became both mentor and dear friend. Then my influence went on to the College of Arts and Crafts, in Oakland, California, with Josepha Haveman, then thru workshops at San Francisco State, with the husband and wife photographers, Jack Welpott and Judy Dater and the life seen thru the eyes of a solid photojournalist, who was world renown, Paul Fusco, who also became a friend and a mentor.