Ansel Adams was seventy-five years old on February 20, 1977, and The Friends of Photography, whose purpose is “to promote and encourage the development of photography as a creative medium,” was ten years old in June. The Friends, founded by Ansel and friends of his (among them Nancy Newhall, Brett Weston, and Rosario Mazzeo, once first clarinetist of the Boston Symphony and an amateur of photography), has its headquarters in a Mission-Gothic style building in Carmel-by-the-Sea on the Monterey Peninsula.
In the two-story basket of the swelling balloon, red-haired, handsome, tall, slovenly mustached Félix Nadar sailed over the roofs of Paris in 1858, his camera ponderous, his wet glass collodion plates hulking. The basket listed. To solve his problem, Nadar stripped, floating naked to take the first aerial photographs ever.
The American Monument is a heavy 12" x 17" volume containing photographs of monuments—statues, obelisks, pyramids, miniature statues of liberty erected by the Boy Scouts of America, D.A.R. plaques to American pioneer wives—taken over a twelve-year period by Lee Friedlander.
WALTER CHAPPELL'S photographs are maps drawn for journeys to inaccessible places. The maps combine naturescapes with manscapes. In various ways earth and flesh reflect each other, combine in contrast with one another and illuminate each other to produce maps to places in ourselves we rarely see clearly.
In 1860 Henry Peach Robinson wrote: “The principal parts of most of my photographs containing figures and landscapes combined, were taken in a small backyard, about 50 feet long, by 20 feet wide. In this I have thrown up a bank, and partly covered it with wild flowers and ferns; the other part consists of an imitation of a mountain and a spring, covered with honeysuckle, brambles, etc.
NOW, THE LIGHT WHICH SHINES ABOVE THIS HEAVEN, ABOVE ALL THE WORLDS, ABOVE EVERYTHING, IN THE HIGHEST WORLDS NOT EXCELLED BY ANY OTHER WORLDS, THAT IS THE SAME LIGHT WHICH IS WITHIN MAN. THERE IS THIS VISIBLE PROOF WHEN WE THUS PERCEIVE BY TOUCH THE WARMTH OF THE BODY.
As a medium of communication, photography is in some ways unrivaled. It is more universal than any language, and for some purposes more precise. No other medium so rewards minimal skill, insight and effort. An artless manipulator of ready-made apparatus can make intelligible prints, and untaught sensibility can produce truly moving effects—as the folk art of the snapshot shows.
Who owns these scrawny little feet? Death. Who owns this bristly scorched-looking face? Death. Who owns these still-working lungs? Death. Who owns this utility coat of muscles? Death. Who owns these unspeakable guts? Death. Who owns these questionable brains? Death.
Julien Levy is back in the news after more than a quartercentury of self-imposed retirement and seclusion. During the thirties, the New York newspapers routinely repeated his name—"Alexander Calder's sculpture, now being shown at the Julien Levy Gallery," or "The fashionable, very disputed and very difficult exhibition of the week is the Salvador Dali show in the Julien Levy Gallery," or "Late Tuesday evening when the polls closed and the votes were counted in the Julien Levy Galleries it developed that Pavel Tchelitchew as well as Mayor LaGuardia had been elected."
WALTER CHAPPELL, born in Oregon in 1925, studied piano and musical composition concurrently with architectural drawing and building construction. His interest in photography developed after a number of encounters with Minor White and, later, with photographers in the San Francisco Bay area.