|2002 24th year ||Al Weber Newsletter|
I know, the newsletter is late and you have vacations to plan. Too bad, that's the way it is. For 24 years I've written this newsletter, which the IRS calls an advertisement. They can call it what they want, as long as they leave me alone. "Where's my newsletter?" says the angry E-mail or nasty phone call. Sometime in December I put most of this together, but between then and now, somehow, time just slid right on by. Heavy research into the Ichthyosaur has taken a whole lot of time. Aided by Mormon Paul Christean from Salt Lake City and my middle son Ben, we've revisited the Berlin State Park a number of times just to make sure our information was correct. I now consider myself among those who are knowledgeable about prehistoric large fishes. Now it can be told; a fish 60 feet long with eyes a foot in diameter, right in the middle of Nevada. The next time you plan a water skiing trip to Lake Lahontan you might ponder the possibility of one still hanging around.
A promotional package from Hasselblad suggests they be used as workshop sponsors. If a workshop will speak favorably about medium format photography, and if the workshop will use Hasselblad labels in printed matter and if a workshop will list Hasselblad as a workshop sponsor THEN Hasselblad will offer a commission to any sales that may come about from students or staff members. Keep this in mind at the next workshop you attend where the instructor praises Hasselblad. His/her motive may be somewhat clouded by the proposal from Hasselblad University.
I always thought an institution needed to meet certain academic requirements to call itself a university. Library support, graduate programs, size of campus and staff qualifications. I'm curious about this Hasselblad University. I wonder if they have a football team.
In the meantime, yes, I use Hasselblads. The catalogue they sent shows they still make a model that looks just like the one I bought in 1963. What would you think of going into a Ford Agency today and buying a brand new car that looked just like a 1963 Ford Fairlane?
I wonder if this new 501 CM has the same clunky mirror that is in my 1963 500C. I wonder if the A12 magazine still starts the first exposure in different places on the roll. I wonder if the slow shutter speeds still hang up if not exercised regularly. Friendly thoughts that have come up while owning a number of Hasselblads.
I'm glad to see all the products they make. It has been somewhat of a reality check. I've been thinking for some time to switch medium format cameras. Some of the new ones with shutters that always work, and 6X7 formats, and filters that don't cost $132, How unusual.
I guess I'll pass on the application to have Hasselblad for a sponsor. I've been teaching workshops since 1963. I've had some corporate help. Polaroid, Ilford and Agfa have been very kind to me. Even Kodak once gave me a E-6 catalogue and a 25 sheet package of Elite. Not one of them, in close to forty years, has ever suggested they be listed as sponsors or given credit for their donations. My loyalty and recommendations have always been based on the fact that I used their materials because I thought they were the best. I also can say none has ever offered me a kick-back for any possible sales generated. Hasselblad University indeed.
Charlie Morrell has a Photography Website that is worth a visit (http://www.morrellphotoworks.com/). As one of the very few sites on the Internet with daily updated content (both photographs and news articles), Charlie will have you smiling. There is also an abundance of photographs from Al Weber Workshops, Road Trips and Group Photos, as well as Links to other Artists Sites, Photographer's Books, Supplies, and of course, T-shirts and Prints for Sale.
Ron Suttora wrote that he's moving and has a couple of processors for sale. Ron and Marie live in Livermore, CA and have operated a quality color printing lab for some time. Now, they are moving, after being at the same address for decades, and the processors are not going with them. Interested? A 16" Kreonite and a Durst M 5/8 Miniprinter. Call or write for information. firstname.lastname@example.org or 925 443-2357. I don't usually put want ads in the newsletter, but Ron and Marie, they're different. They've been with me in workshops for close to thirty years. When Marie wanted a new darkroom, Ron bought her a skill saw back in 1975. This year, Marie got a six inch belt sander. One year at the Kelso Dunes, the starter went out on their Suburban. They got up to Baker, a small desert town that has a strange assortment of freeway businesses, including one fine parts store. A new starter was purchased and they returned to camp to install it. Problem was however, that the day before, Ron sun burned his hands pretty bad and working under the car to install the new starter just wasn't going to happen. No sweat, Marie did it. Ron sat on a camp stool, sipping a cool one in the shade of the car, and directed Marie through it all. When finished, Marie rolled out from under the car, greasy, sweaty but smiling, and of course it all worked just fine. I can assure you that if you buy a processor from the Suttoras, you'll never forget that day, and I can't imagine any device that Ron has owned daring to quit.
Cole Weston and his wife Paulette have decided to end their marriage. When a friend or friends divorce, those who are close are in a quandary. Usually, as in this case, I don't want to give up either friendship. Cole and I have been friends for a very long time, 47 years to be exact. However, Suzie and I have become very fond of Paulette since she came here from Alabama. Her crazy hats and classy ways made her a hit at any party, and the Westons are well known for parties. So, we hope that we can remain on the best of terms with both. In their settlement, Paulette wound up with a number of Cole's photographs. She has now decided to move back to Alabama and would like to sell some of them. If you are interested, she has priced them at half off. I don't mean to upset Cole, but it seems reasonable to help Paulette if this is what she would like to do, and Cole's prints are sure worth the money. If you are interested, call Paulette at 831 526-3902. The very best to both Cole and Paulette. Such is life.
We all know about Aperture and the incredible journal it once was under the direction of Minor White. Somewhere back in the late sixties or early seventies, Michael Hoffman took control of Aperture, and huge changes came about. Off and on over the years I have subscribed, but usually drop out after a few issues, as I simply couldn't, and still can't stomach what they publish. Finally, Michael Hoffman, it seems has died. My grandmother always said that if you can't say something nice about a person, don't say anything at all. So I'm not going to tell you how I have always felt about Michael Hoffman. I guess it's all right however, to pass along the observation that I have never, in my time, ever, heard anyone say anything good about him. So long Michael, have a nice day.
In all fairness, I must report that Aperture published, just last winter, an excellent book about Pirkle Jones. Everything about the book is very fine, especially the decision to publish Pirkle, one of the great photographers of our time. So you see, no one is all bad.
The announcement came as no surprise. It was like waiting and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Arrogance, tunnel vision and an incredible lack of management finally caught up with those last in power. What started as a great dream of Cole Weston, an organization to honor his father, grew through the leadership of Ansel Adams and eventually was taken over by a bunch of folks I never knew. It lasted more than 30 years. There were good times. There were good deeds. There were wonderful people. And there were those who came only to self serve. Sitting in a Pacific Grove coffee shop one day, I overheard the conversation at a nearby table of young photographers and the comment I will always remember is, "Friends of SOME Photographers.' Well, maybe they weren't much towards the end, but they were all we had, and many of us hoped against hope they would turn around, see the light and be what they could be. No soap. FOP. AKA Friends of Photography. But really: OOTWR. Out Of Touch With Reality. I was a trustee for eight very long years.
Now, it seems there are a number of new organizations attempting to take advantage of the situation. New ideas, new old plans. They all seem to say, "Me, Me, Me." We need a group like FOP, but where will it come from? There doesn't seem to be very many Ansel Adams around these days. That's what it takes. Power in the form of a very strong individual, with deep pockets.
Somewhere within your neighborhood there is the nucleus of a lobby group for photography. I've seen this many times from coast to coast. Sometimes only a few that get together to look at prints and share a cup of coffee. And sometimes that grows into a club or an art center. I support anything that endorses an exchange with contemporaries. I support anything that expands knowledge about our work, our photography, our art. I support anything that keeps us abreast of what is going on outside the city limits. I've always been critical of the Photographic Society of America and it's out of date philosophies and club like attitude. But, in reality, it works. It brings people together and encourages them to make photographs. Granted it doesn't seem to know much about contemporary trends, but so what? No one is perfect. The local chapter, Padre Trails, was here before Friends of Photography started, they were here all the time that FOP was going, and now that FOP is gone, they are still here, and still smiling and still making photographs. Smoke that one over Andy Grundberg and all the little Grundberg puppets.
So, here on the Monterey Peninsula, hot bed of f64 selenium toned razor sharp BW photographs on white Strathmore, lurk the rock and tree folks, in all places, the tiny village of Carmel-by-the-Sea. In the very digs where FOP started, is a modest appearing establishment called, Center for Photographic Arts. Whoa, there fella. Mild mannered Clark Kent, AKA Dennis High, in the face of all that selenium and wooden cameras has forged an organization, that is not totally perfect, but certainly is of interest to anyone who believes that photography extends beyond the Edward Weston and Ansel Adams pony act. Refreshing, intelligent, what's going on. Some bad with the good; a newsletter that is very good, a fine print program that is absolutely outstanding, an auction that I personally question, but I know it makes money, so? an exhibit program that runs the gauntlet, from politically correct crap (such as Dennis Hopper) to some really swell innovative stuff. It's alive, and what's more, I don't know of anything else within hundreds of miles that is even close, and this you can join for $38 a year. $30 if you are a senior or a student. PO Box 1100, Carmel CA 93921. 831 625-5181. If you subscribe now, Publisher Steve Simmons will send you a complimentary subscription to either View Camera Magazine or Camera Arts. Now that is a deal.
Things to ponder on a nice Saturday afternoon in Carmel Highlands while all the tourists run up and down Highway One looking for OZ.
Yep, finally, I'm dropping AOL. I feel I have just taken a really good laxative.
My new E-mail address is email@example.com
In the fall of 2001, articles started to appear either about or by me in several magazines. This is a new thing for me, as I've never been associated with any of the magazines dealing with contemporary photography. I'm sure it will go away as quickly as it appeared, but if you are interested, here is a list of recent publications you might take a look at. Please don't call me for copies as I haven't kept such files. I don't know where you can find them. Maybe try the library, or ask a friend.
UCSC Annual Report. November 2001. My work with Special Collections and Rita Bottoms at the University of California, Santa Cruz is going nicely and in this report, they have flattered us with two pages of descriptive writing and some photos. I am concerned about the final disposition of a photographers life work, and we are working to alert people of their options.
Photo Vision. December 2001. Stephen Petersen and the Owens Valley workshop. Steve came along on the fall workshop through Owens Valley and reports on a number of demonstrations and quotes he found of interest. Steve has a reputation for being conservative and very correct in what he writes.
Camera Arts. December 2001. Steve Simmons has talked with me for some time about doing an article. This is it. I think the writer, David Best, did a fine job and I'm pleased with the photos they chose to run.
Photo Techniques. March 2002. Silver to Digital Print Making. I wrote this article at the suggestion of Paul Schranz as a extension of what I said in my 2001 newsletter. It's how I feel about digital work and making the transition to it. If you are a straight arrow who doesn't like digital. don't read the article, it could spoil your day.
Photo Techniques. Wynn Bullock. No publication date as yet. An overview of Wynn Bullock on his 100th birthday. The Monterey Museum of Art and Charles Farmer are hosting a workshop that includes an evening about Wynn. Having known and worked with Wynn for many years, I've been asked to write a Bullock article.
Photo Vision. With Don Anderson. The Power of Influence. December 2002. Don and I have been working on influence and its power and Publisher Steve Anchell has agreed to print what we put together next winter.
Working with the magazines is new to me and I'm having fun, so far. I find the magazines totally reversed from a couple of decades back, and it is a pleasure to work with younger and intelligent, concerned editors, writers, and publishers, as above. How long it lasts is anyone's guess. Nothing is for ever, and we'll just make hay while the sun shines.
As I said above, nothing lasts forever. I've been at this workshop business a long time. I took my first one from Ansel Adams in 1961 and it cost $35. Workshops have changed. The students have changed. the cost has really changed, and I must admit that I've changed. I question now just how many photographers need to know the Zone System. How many really need a guided tour through Yosemite, Pt. Lobos or Death Valley? And this brings us to the issue at hand. I've been in the Southwest, or Four Corners area continuously since 1979. I grew up in Colorado and I'll never tire of that 'enchanted' landscape. I'll never tire of easing into little Zuni on a hot day and having lunch at the Highway 53 Cafe; great salsa and chips-lots of iced tea, or stopping for supplies in Mimbres and listening to the store keeper tell about growing up in that very building. My kind of museum is in Deming, New Mexico, where all the docents seem to have blue hair and there is a real anti-aircraft gun in the front yard, and it smells like I think a museum should smell; dioramas, old uniforms, amazing pots, yellowed newspapers, old guns, rugs, old cars and carriages- a place where one could spend hours, days even, and never get bored. Mining towns, incredible canyons, vistas that go on for miles, open campgrounds, and did I mention salsa and chips? (and Mexican beer of course) That part of our country is truly wonderful, but it is time to move on. Often I've been told that "we almost came this year, but something came up and we couldn't". Last chance folks. In 2002, I'll make my last run through New Mexico and Arizona with a organized workshop.
I'm not stopping all workshops. I'm just 'downsizing' as the yuppies say. More time at home, more time on this machine. more time in the darkroom looking at earlier work. More time playing with the animals, more time watching the lemon tree grow, and of course more time to be with Suzie and the boys, who aren't boys anymore. I've closed out China Lake, I've closed out Mono Lake, I rarely go into Death Valley. I never go into Yosemite (Disneyland West) The Colorado High Country has become uncomfortable to me; too high and I never would have guessed that would happen.
There aren't any complicated enrollment procedures. Sign up for a workshop, decide you can't come, tell me, and you get all of your money back. No excuse necessary. I expect everyone to have read the detailed workshop instructions. Dogs and children are not welcome. Non participating wives or husbands are welcome at no cost, as long as they don't whine and cause any extra work. There are no age restrictions, but I do expect everyone to act like an adult. I don't care what you think of politics, religion, or baseball and I expect you to think about such topics before and after the workshop only. There is zero tolerance for narcotics, Don Juans, bigots, red necks or moochers. Anyone who creates a problem for other participants will be removed immediately. The workshops are not intense. They are casual but serious and designed to keep those attending safe and at ease to work. The days are long but easy. There is always time to stop at an interesting trading post or junk shop. Other instructors and staff are chosen more for their experience and personality than their photographic expertise. They are there to make your experience successful and pleasant, but they are not servants and they don't run errands or carry your equipment. One is always a good mechanic (Bruce) which helps when your car stops. All of them are good cooks and if you treat them right, they might share a meal with you; but you wash your own dishes, and provide your share of the food and drink. I'd be most happy to have you join me on any of the following workshops. Most who come have been with me on previous trips. These folks are affectionately referred to as tagalongs, a term laid on them by Peggy at Hank's Trading Post, just north of Flagstaff. All formats are welcome, any process including digital is welcome and of interest. Experience is amusing but of no concern. I'd rather have a swell beginner anytime instead of an experienced and arrogant know-it-all.
02-01. Carmel Studio, Big Sur Coast, Mission San Antonio. 14-16 September. $275. Day one, hang out at the studio, going over technical issues, checking meters, looking at examples, demonstrating some Polaroid, and an afternoon shoot at Point Lobos. Day two. travel south down the coast, shoot and run, lunch at Big Sur, camp in the wooded high country of Hunter Liggett. Day three. Mission San Antonio; a concentrated day working with the architecture of the mission, the related gardens and artifacts.
02-02. The Rendezvous at Songdog Ranch. 18-20 October. $115. Same everything, as usual. Songdog Ranch with Rev and his gang, for former students only. A reminder, This is my only workshop in which accompanying wives and husbands must pay tuition. Dogs and children are not welcome. Tuition includes a camp site and 4 meals.
02-03. Tagalong Time. 21-25 October. $499. Don't really know where. Don't care where. Start at Diaz Lake. Maybe the White Mountains. Maybe the Alabama Hills. Maybe(probably) Salvation Mountain. Run and camp. Nothing, absolutely nothing, intense. Must be totally self contained and have wheels that work.
02-04. The Southwest. 28 October-2 November. $599. For the last time. This workshop has run continuously since 1979. Back then, I was 49 years old, drove a candy apple red bronco, and prided myself on endurance. Time has passed. I now fall in the old goat classification, drive a conservative white truck with all the amenities of a wimp, rarely walk more than a hundred yards at a time, and on occasion, find time for an afternoon nap. 23 years in a row is enough.
Those who'd like to take both of the above workshops will receive a discount in tuition. Total fee will be $900.
03-05. Death Valley Junction & Marta Becket. 21-23 March $175. The Amargosa Opera House and the desert beyond. A rendezvous that includes new people and embraces Marta and what she has done with her opera house. Camp or motel it; early subscribers can find room at the old Amargosa Hotel. When full, late arrivals can stay down the road at the Longstreet Casino. Bring your own food, and plan on attending the opera. Black socks of course. One day to look at portfolios, one day to photograph, including interiors of the opera house, and a nice session with Marta.
03-06. The Salinas Valley. 11-13 April, 2003. $275. Wooden barns, old tractors, small by-passed towns, missions (the ones not on post cards) row crops, wine production, narrow roads, slow moving trucks. the upside down river (the Salinas), rich fertile land, unequaled anywhere, all terminating at Moss Landing, a deep water fishing port with miles of estuary sloughs and bird life. And we shall dine daily on the finest of California cuisine. (Let's hear it for the Pit Stop at San Ardo where a delicious egg and chorizo burrito, with home made chips and salsa is a whopping $2.50). We'll camp at King City, next to a 100 year old black smith shop.
In the past I have worked up complex application forms. Few use them. If you want to sign up for a workshop, send me a check, say which workshop you want, and I'll send you an information sheet. Any money sent will be cheerfully refunded should you decide to cancel and I don't care why. I do ask that you notify me of cancellations prior to the workshop. No sign-ups by E-mail or telephone. Your name will be placed on a roster only when I have received a check.
Gerry Spence's WYOMING. St. Martins Press. Hard cover. $75. Photographs and poetry by Gerry, including a 60 minute CD of him reading. Spence, well known and respected as a trial lawyer, one who rarely if ever, loses a case, a literal Robin Hood of the courts, is also a skilled photographer and sensitive poet. Any book store carries volumes about different states. Coffee table size, glitzy, but frequently rather meaningless; a post card quality runs through many. Lawyers are trained to contain emotion. Don't let it show. Maybe this is one reason Gerry has a great track record. He doesn't hide his feelings. This book, all black and white imagery, has as a major ingredient, Passion with a capital P.
High-Lonesome Books, Silver City NM. Web site at: High-LonesomeBooks.com
Send a check to Al Weber along with the titles. California residents add 7% sales tax. Packaging and shipping, $5 first book, $2 for each book thereafter. Cash or check only. Call first (831 624-5535) about used books.
|I guess that about wraps it up. See you when I see you, |