LIMITED EDITION SILVER GELATIN PRINT BY JOHN AVAILABLE ONLINE
I am pleased to introduce my image Glowing Aspens, Castle Creek Valley, Colorado as Darkroom Edition 2021. I began the Darkroom Edition series in 1986, thirty-five years ago, and am pleased to add this new limited edition print to the series. This 11x14" silver gelatin print is offered in a limited edition of seventy-five, signed and numbered prints, plus ten Artist's Proofs. When the edition is sold out no further silver gelatin prints will be made for sale in any size. Though my open edition 11x14" prints have a retail price in galleries of $1,000, the special introductory price for this limited edition print is $800–a 20% discount. On January 1, 2022, the retail price for any remaining unsold prints will increase to $2,000 and will escalate as the edition sells.
Glowing Aspens, Castle Creek Valley, Colorado
To place an order for the print follow this link:
Glowing Aspens was made following one of my annual two-week workshops that I taught at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. During the workshop we always made a visit to this beautiful aspen grove in Castle Creek Valley, one of my favorite stands of aspens. As readers of my eNewsletter know I often talk about the making of the photograph when I release a special print offer like the limited edition of this image. This time I thought I would do something a bit different, as it seems the best way to express how I feel about these specific aspen trees, and the experience of spending many afternoons in this grove.
Following one of those workshops I drove to these aspens in Castle Creek Valley to explore for photographs. As I was walking through the trees, I felt a sense of tranquility and peace. I pulled out my small handheld tape recorder that I always have with me and began recording my thoughts about the experience of being in and photographing this luminous grove of aspen trees.
Normally I find that transposing from speech to text requires considerable editing. That afternoon, for some reason, the words I spoke transposed to a text I was very pleased with. No one was more surprised than me when the finished essay, Within the Forest, required changing only a handful of words. I wish my mind would function that clearly more often, and I wish my photographic vision would also function with the same efficiency. Sadly, I must report that such is seldom the case. That being said, exploring, enjoying, and photographing the forest remains a wonderful passion for me today. I hope you enjoy my essay.
WITHIN THE FOREST
Prints will begin shipping on December 6, 2021. If you would like to receive your print in time for the Holidays, please be sure to let us know at the time of your order. It would be a good idea to follow up with an email as well. We will make every effort to ship prints out in time for Holiday gift-giving for those who need them. All of the remaining prints ordered will be shipped no later than March 31, 2022.
This limited edition silver gelatin, selenium toned, print is made on Ilford Warmtone fiber-base photographic paper. It is approximately 10-1/4 x 13-1/4" in size, personally printed by me (as are all my prints), processed to current archival standards, signed, numbered, mounted and over-matted to 16x20" on 100% rag museum board. As has been the case with all previous Darkroom Edition series prints, a beautifully printed archival presentation sheet will accompany each print.
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 print, please feel free to contact Anne at 831-659-3130, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Pacific Time.
You can see the image and place a secure online order for the print at the Ventana Editions web store:
SURPRISES FROM THE ARCHIVES!
As I mentioned in my introduction Anne and I have been going through boxes and boxes of materials from the past. Did I mention there have been LOTS of boxes??? In the process we found some pretty neat 'stuff.' The materials included my high school photography assignments; college photography assignments; my teaching notes and files from the late 70's; my MANY workshop files; a massive amount of materials from my time spent working as Ansel's Photographic Assistant; and later as his Technical Consultant; thousands of 4x6-inch 'happy snaps' prints as well as Polaroid SX-70's. The experience was truly a 'blast from the past!'
As you might imagine there was a massive amount of mundane and today useless junk. There were more than few exclamations like, "Why did I keep this?" We shredded, recycled, discarded, donated, as well as organized, inventoried, re-boxed, stored, and protected, many items. We discovered things we had forgotten about. We found things we had been looking for 'forever,' and found supplies of posters we thought we were running low on. The studio, our offices, and much of our home turned into a sorting, organizing, and scanning facility. The work is far from done, but we have in the process cut down on the amount of 'stuff' that we have and more carefully stored and organized those treasures we did find.
12th ANNUAL "MONO LAKE AND THE EASTERN SIERRA: EXPLORING AUTUMN LIGHT" WORKSHOP WITH ANNE LARSEN AND JOHN SEXTON PLANNED FOR OCTOBER 2022
As we mentioned during our most recent eNewsletter the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated that we cancelled our 2021 photography workshops. We are hopeful that we will be able to offer the extremely popular Mono Lake and The Eastern Sierra: Exploring Autumn Light workshop in October 2022. This workshop has always been an enjoyable and productive experience for us as instructors and organizers, and based upon the comments we have received, as well as the high percentage of people who have repeated this particular workshop, it has also proven to be a most worthwhile experience for them.
The workshop is already filled with registrants from the cancelled 2021 session.You are welcome to apply to the waiting list – no deposit please – simply submit a completed and signed application form, which you may download here. There is no way to know if we will have cancellations as the workshop draws closer, but we will contact individuals from the waiting list if an opening appears.
For additional information please visit my web site www.johnsexton.com where you can download the complete workshop brochure as well as the application form here: http://www.johnsexton.com/schedule.html.
ANSEL'S PORTRAITS OF PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER AND VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE
I started work as Ansel Adams’ Photographic and Technical Assistant in July 1979 - just over 40 years ago. A few months after that, Ansel received communications from the White House indicating that Joan Mondale - Vice President Mondale’s wife, who had a keen interest in the arts - wanted the official portraits of the Carter Administration to be photographs, rather than paintings as had always previously been the case. Ansel received a special request to make the official portraits of both President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale.
Though Ansel is best known for his dramatic black and white landscapes of the American West, he had done many portraits over the years. Ansel graciously accepted the challenging assignment (receiving no fee), and we began to prepare for the journey East to undertake this project.
Ansel wanted to approach the making of the portraits in a bigger than life fashion. He contacted John McCann at Polaroid Corporation and asked if he could use the massive Polaroid 20x24 Land camera for the project. John McCann thought this was a splendid idea and agreed to provide not only camera and film, but also a team of skilled individuals to assist with the operation of the camera. In addition to the large Polaroid camera, we packed up Ansel’s 4x5 Horseman view camera along with the necessary lenses and other equipment he would need.
Vice President Walter Mondale - President Jimmy Carter
As the 40th anniversary of this project approached I began to review my notes, documents, and memorabilia related to our trip to Washington D.C. In addition, I re-read relevant sections from Ansel’s “Book of Letters” as well as his “Autobiography.” I had completely forgotten about a passage in his Autobiography where Ansel had kind words to share about my involvement in this challenging undertaking.
“I telephoned my good friend John McCann at Polaroid and inquired if they would be interested in cooperating with me in this complicated job. If so, I would at least have immediate feedback in terms of acceptable likeness on sheets of Polaroid material. They enthusiastically agreed; the 20x24-inch camera would be at my disposal with all the lighting equipment required and a staff of four to assist! Fortified with those happy answers and knowing I would have my own very capable assistant John Sexton with me, I accepted the assignment.”
Ansel photographed Vice President Mondale on November 5th, 1979 and President Jimmy Carter, along with First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the following day. Ansel, Andrea Gray Stillman (Ansel’s Administrative Assistant at the time), the team from Polaroid, and I spent a few days scouting at the White House and the Vice President’s residence. According to the notes I made it was during those days of scouting that Ansel came up with the following unexpected quip. “Over hill and Mondale, we will drag out Carter drawn by the Horseman on the road to Olympus.” How Ansel spontaneously conjured up this witty phrase is beyond my comprehension. For those that may not be photographers, ‘Horseman’ was the brand of the 4x5 view camera that Ansel was using at the time, and Ansel also had a small ‘Olympus’ 35mm camera that he used on occasion for ‘happy snap’ images. This is a classic example of Ansel’s unique wit and sense of humor. Ansel loved to laugh, and truly enjoyed making others laugh. I have feel that Ansel often used humor as a “relief valve” for the pressure he often encountered because of his amazingly intense work ethic.
Tom Zito of the Washington Post accompanied us on the photography sessions. Tom’s article in the November 6, 1979 edition of the Post vividly describes some of the memorable communications between the Vice President and Ansel during the portrait session. Here are a few excerpts:
“Strolling into the vice presidential mansion yesterday afternoon, Fritz Mondale encountered a 4-by-3.5 foot camera occupying much of his reception room. "Well, I guess this is a big enough camera to capture the egos in this town," he said.
“Perched on a step ladder, the grand old man of American photography, Ansel Adams, was fine-tuning the composition for the first of two official portraits he is making here this week. Yesterday it was Mondale's. Today he will photograph President Jimmy Carter at the White House. He is doing it for free.”
"I want you to move just a little bit this way," he said to Mondale, who was standing on the main stairway of his house. "I hate to move to the right," came the response. "Do you think you can capture my beauty, Ansel?" "If not, we'll bring in a bigger camera."
Adams gently ordered Mondale about: "Stand a little straighter, but lean forward." "Move the hands up just an inch on the railing." A little bit over now so that painting doesn't slip under your arm." "My office is good for this kind of work," he said. "I stand where I'm told."
"Prepare for an Armageddon of light," Adams cautioned Mondale, just before a huge bank of strobes fired off for the first shot.”
You can read Tom’s colorful commentary about our time with Vice President Mondale in his full Washington Post article here:
In preparation for the photography sessions with the President and the Vice President we did countless test photographs with the gigantic 20x24 Polaroid camera, as well as smaller Polaroid tests with the Ansel’s 4x5 camera. The process involved many refinements as Ansel studied the test images. We would have limited time with the Vice President as well as the President, so I made careful notes of all of the details so that we could set the images us quickly, efficiently, and accurately. Ansel decided, because of the prominent visibility Rosalynn Carter had during President Carter’s tenure, he wanted to do a portrait of the two of them together. Andrea was the stand-in for Mrs. Carter, while Polaroid truck driver Dominic Sawicki served as substitute for President Carter. A have included a 4x5 Polaroid Land test print of Dominic and Andrea below.
Ansel had approximately one hour with the President that day. This was a much longer period of time than other well-known photographers had been granted in the past for Presidential portraits. Ansel made multiple photographs during both sessions with the Polaroid 20x24 as well has his 4x5 camera. During our scouting times we had been given a briefing on the proper protocol and behavior when around the President. We were informed that, if President Carter referred to us as “Mr. McCann” or “Mr. Sexton,” we were to refer to him as “Mr. President.” The first photograph of the session was made in the President’s personal private dining room in the White House. As you can imagine, all of us involved in this project were extremely nervous. The large 20x24 camera was set up and everything was arranged. Suddenly out of nowhere appeared President Carter. The Head Usher gave introductions. When President Carter extended a warm handshake, he greeted me with “nice to meet you Mr. Sexton.” This was the regimen with all of the individuals within the room until finally he extended a warm greeting to “Ansel.” President Carter wanted Ansel to refer to him as ‘Jimmy.’ This was a great sign of respect for Ansel.
After making that photograph, we made a photograph on the Truman Balcony. We then headed down the ground floor for the final photograph of the day with President and Mrs. Carter standing in the entrance to the magnificent East Room. Everything was all set. Everyone had a job to do before the photograph was made. I had assisted Ansel with the focusing of the camera and had the film holders ready to go. The photograph included here, made with Ansel’s 4x5 view camera ended up being the favorite of the Carters from among all of the images Ansel made that day.
President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter
As most readers of this newsletter know, Ansel had two passions that dominated his life - photography and the preservation of the planet. During the fifty-five minutes allotted for the portrait he and his former business manager, William Turnage, who at that point was Executive Director of the Wilderness Society, spent every available moment talking to President Carter about the importance of preserving the Alaskan Wilderness. At the conclusion of the visit, Ansel gave a 20x24” print of his striking image Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska to President and Mrs. Carter, as a personal token of friendship. I recently saw a photograph of President Carter being interviewed in his home office. Ansel’s Mount McKinley print had a prominent place on his office wall. It is no coincidence that a few months later in his administration President Carter signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The following June President Carter bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom upon Ansel. This is the highest honor the United States Government can grant a United States civilian.
Ansel did a wonderful job on all of the portraits that day. At the end of the day we were all exhausted, and Ansel was relieved that things had gone so well. In my notebook I wrote down Ansel’s exact words - expressed with a great sense of satisfaction, “We did OK!” It was wonderful to be able to assist Ansel on this project. It certainly is an adventure I will never forget. My memories today are as vivid as they were forty years ago!
CAUTION - NEW 3D X-RAY AIRPORT SCANNERS WILL DAMAGE UNPROCESSED FILM
I recently read a distressing article at PetaPixel.com indicating that new 3D X-ray airport scanners are being installed in various airports around the United States. These new Computed Tomography X-Ray scanners will provide TSA security personnel an instant 3D view of our carry-on luggage contents. However, according to the article, these new CT scanners will completely fog your photographic film with a single scan! This means that anyone traveling with unprocessed photographic film of any ISO must request hand inspection of that film to avoid having the film ruined.
Here is a link to the PetaPixel article: https://petapixel.com/2019/10/21/beware-new-3d-airport-scanners-will-destroy-your-camera-film/
Over 145 of these scanning machines have now been deployed around the country. While older properly calibrated X-ray machines used for carry-on luggage produced fairly low dose radiation levels, and the risk was low for most films up to ISO 800. These new 3D machines have upped the radiation level dramatically, and even a single exposure will completely ruin unprocessed film. I have always been suspect of the lead lined bags that purported protection from X-ray exposure. The published information at this point is that such bags do NOT offer any protection from the new generation of X-ray scanners.
Analogic 'Film Fryer' 3D Computed Tomography X-ray Scanner
Here’s a link to the official TSA page with additional information about the 3D Computed Tomography X-ray scanning equipment, including a list of the airports where the scanners are installed.
Instagram post from our Workshop Corporate Partner Freestyle Photographic Supplies
Here is information our longtime friend Bob Shanebrook - author of the book Making Kodak Film recently received directly from the TSA:
"If you are traveling with the following types of film, please pack it in a clear plastic bag, remove it from your carry-on bag at the checkpoint, and ask for a hand inspection:• Film with an ASA\ISO 800 or higher
The x-ray equipment used for screening CHECKED baggage will damage undeveloped film; therefore, please place undeveloped film in carry-on bags."
Some readers may recall that Anne and I had a significant amount of Kodak T-Max 400 film damaged on one of our photographic trips to Venice a few years ago when returning home through the Venice airport. We had our film organized in clear Ziploc plastic bags, but the security staff would not allow us to get hand-inspection on the film. Obviously that particular X-ray machine was out of calibration or not operating properly. At least that was the opinion of the experts at Eastman Kodak when they inspected the damage. Fortunately we have never had difficulty obtaining hand inspection of our roll films – unexposed or exposed – at a USA airport. We always try to arrive super early and have the film in clear Ziploc bags, making it as easy as possible for the TSA agents to do their hand inspection. We greatly appreciate their efforts, and always make sure to thank them profusely for their assistance.
It appears as if hand inspection will be a necessity for those of us traveling with photographic film from this point forward.
JOHN INDUCTED INTO THE INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY HALL OF FAME
Anne and I had a wonderful trip to St. Louis, Missouri to attend the gala awards ceremony and other related events at the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum. The festivities took place on Friday, October 26, 2018.
I've included a few happy snaps below from the induction events. In addition, by popular request, we have created a '"PHOTO ALBUM PAGE" on my web site with many more pics of the festivities, along with a brief video of Dr. Michael Adams introducing me during the induction ceremony, followed by my acceptance remarks.
Susan Meiselas, John Sexton, Walter Iooss, Joel Bernstein, John Loengard, Cynthia Russell
It is an understatement to say how privileged, and humbled, I feel to receive the distinguished honor of being inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame. It was particularly exciting for Anne and me to meet the legendary photographers that were inducted and honored by the IPHF. This year's other inductees are Willard S. Boyle, Walter Iooss, John Loengard, and Susan Meiselas along with Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Joel Bernstein.
Dick Miles, John Sexton, and Bob Bishop
A highlight of our evening was my introduction by Ansel's son, Dr. Michael Adams. His most generous and thoughtful words, as well his presence along with his lovely wife Jeanne, (they traveled all the way from Carmel, California to be a part of the event!) made this memorable evening even more special. The IPHF treated all of the honorees, and their guests, wonderfully. They took care of everything for us during the celebratory events. When we arrived at the IPHF Museum building there was a red carpet for us – as was also the case that evening at the sold-out gala awards event venue.
The exhibition featuring photographs by all of the honorees was handsomely presented with excellent lighting. The exhibit runs through January 10, 2019. Each of the honorees received a solid bronze medallion, custom-designed by noted St. Louis artist Adam Foster. When I was awarded my medal on stage, following my acceptance speech, I was stunned by the weight of the object. I soon learned that this response was universal among all of the honorees that evening. When we returned home I decided to weigh the solid bronze object and found it weighed 1lb to 5oz (580 grams)! It's not an object I anticipate wearing around my neck – without risking some type of neck injury – but we are looking for just the right place to display it among the other honors and awards I have been fortunate to receive over my photographic career.
A portion of John's photographs included in the
I want to thank Patty Wente, CEO and President, of the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum - along with her dedicated staff - especially Elizabeth Eikmann and Stephen Bruns - as well as the many volunteers, along with the IPHF Board of Directors for the great honor and hospitality extended toward Anne and me during our visit. I again want to express my special appreciation to Michael and Jeanne Adams, who made this honor and event something that neither Anne or I will ever forget.
Anne Larsen, John Sexton, Patty Wente, Michael Adams, Jeanne Adams
2018 International Photography Hall of Fame
International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum
October 27th, 2018 - January 10th, 2019
The IPHF is proud to present the 2018 Hall of Fame Induction and Award Exhibition featuring photographs from 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Joel Bernstein, and the 2018 Class of Hall of Fame Inductees; Willard S. Boyle, Walter Iooss, John Loengard, Susan Meiselas, and John Sexton.
More information is available HERE
John's photographs included in the
ANNE LARSEN WINNER IN TWO CATEGORIES
Anne recently learned the great news that she was the winner in two of the Professional categories of the
A total of 760 photographers from 72 countries submitted 5,800 photographs for consideration by the jurors; Julia Fullerton-Batten, Andrea Star-Reese, and Laura Pannack. The Julia Margaret Cameron Award Competition is open only to women photographers. Anne is honored and humbled by the recognition her photographs received as part of this award.
You can see more of Anne's images at the Ventana Editions online store.
IMPORTANT NEWS FOR KODAK 120 SIZE FILM USERS - NEW & IMPROVED BACKING PAPER
You may remember my eNewsletter of May of 2016, back when Kodak Alaris was experiencing incidents of frame numbers appearing on 120-format film negatives. At the time, Thomas J. Mooney, Film Capture Manager at Kodak Alaris told me "we are taking this issue very seriously and have recently made modifications to the backing paper which we believe should minimize the potential for this type of blemish going forward."
I am happy to report that since that time, Kodak Alaris has implemented additional backing paper upgrades and they are very confident that this issue is now behind them. The first product spooled with this improved paper was Kodak Professional T-Max 100 Film, which was brought back to market in November of last year. The balance of the 120-format film offerings transitioned to the new backing paper over the first half of this year, with all films having now been upgraded.
The table above identifies the first emulsion to be shipped with the new backing paper for each specific product. The new backing paper is also easily recognized by its much glossier appearance than any previous Kodak backing paper - as can be easily seen in the image below.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR USERS OF 120 FORMAT KODAK PROFESSIONAL FILMS- PLEASE READ
As many readers are likely aware, I have used Kodak Professional film continuously for more than four decades. Over the years I have found Kodak film to be of the highest possible quality and consistency. However, anomalies can occur from time to time. There have been recent reports that appear to be associated with certain batches of 120 format Kodak Professional film.
The problem can easily be seen in the photograph below recently made by William Wetmore. I appreciate William allowing me to share this example with readers. You will notice the word Kodak clearly appears in the sky, along with frame number '13' multiple times. I first became aware of this situation a few months ago when a former workshop participant brought some online discussions on this topic to my attention. Unfortunately, as time has passed, I have encountered a number of students, colleagues, and friends who have experienced this exact problem.
©2016 William Wetmore. All rights reserved.
Follow this link for more detailed information: John Sexton May 2016 Newsletter
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Site last updated November 28, 2021