Gilbert family photographic archives

Gilbert family photographic archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Title: Gilbert family photographic archives
Dates: 20th century
Quantity: 0.8 Linear feet (8 oversized folders A)
Abstract:The collection consists of photographic prints which are outstanding examples of twentieth century photography by some of this century's most prominent photographers. These images provide a student of the art of photography with a fine cross-section of techniques and styles inherent in the modern craft. Included are 6 images by Ansel Adams; 1 image by Paul Caponigro; 16 images by Manuel Carrillo; 2 images by Barbara Crane; 5 images by Joseph Jachna; 1 image by Kenneth Josephson; 2 images by Claire Trotter; and 3 images by Brett Weston.
Coll. Number: ms1733

Biographical/Historical Note

Ansel Adams (20 Feb. 1902-22 Apr. 1984), photographer and environmentalist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Charles Hitchcock Adams, a businessman, and Olive Bray. An only child, Adams was born when his mother was nearly forty. His relatively elderly parents, affluent family history, and the live-in presence of his mother's maiden sister and aged father all combined to create an environment that was decidedly Victorian and both socially and emotionally conservative. Adams's mother spent much of her time brooding and fretting over her husband's inability to restore the Adams fortune, leaving an ambivalent imprint on her son. Charles Adams, on the other hand, deeply and patiently influenced, encouraged, and supported his son. Natural shyness and a certain intensity of genius, coupled with the dramatically "earthquaked" nose, caused Adams to have problems fitting in at school. In later life he noted that he might have been diagnosed as hyperactive. There is also the distinct possibility that he may have suffered from dyslexia. He was not successful in the various schools to which his parents sent him; consequently, his father and aunt tutored him at home. Ultimately, he managed to earn what he termed a "legitimizing diploma" from the Mrs. Kate M. Wilkins Private School--perhaps equivalent to having completed the eighth grade. The most important result of Adams's somewhat solitary and unmistakably different childhood was the joy that he found in nature, as evidenced by his taking long walks in the still-wild reaches of the Golden Gate. Nearly every day found him hiking the dunes or meandering along Lobos Creek, down to Baker Beach, or out to the very edge of the American continent. When Adams was twelve he taught himself to play the piano and read music. Soon he was taking lessons, and the ardent pursuit of music became his substitute for formal schooling. For the next dozen years the piano was Adams's primary occupation and, by 1920, his intended profession. Although he ultimately gave up music for photography, the piano brought substance, discipline, and structure to his frustrating and erratic youth. Moreover, the careful training and exacting craft required of a musician profoundly informed his visual artistry, as well as his influential writings and teachings on photography. If Adams's love of nature was nurtured on the Golden Gate, his life was, in his words, "colored and modulated by the great earth gesture" of the Yosemite Sierra (Adams, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, p. xiv). He spent substantial time there every year from 1916 until his death. From his first visit, Adams was transfixed and transformed. He began using the Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie his parents had given him. He hiked, climbed, and explored, gaining self-esteem and self-confidence. In 1919 he joined the Sierra Club and spent the first of four summers in Yosemite Valley, as "keeper" of the club's LeConte Memorial Lodge. He became friends with many of the club's leaders, who were founders of America's nascent conservation movement. He met his wife, Virginia Best, in Yosemite; they were married in 1928. The couple had two children. Nineteen twenty-seven was the pivotal year of Adams's life. He made his first fully visualized photograph, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, and took his first High Trip. More important, he came under the influence of Albert M. Bender, a San Francisco insurance magnate and patron of arts and artists. Literally the day after they met, Bender set in motion the preparation and publication of Adams's first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras [sic]. Bender's friendship, encouragement, and tactful financial support changed Adams's life dramatically. His creative energies and abilities as a photographer blossomed, and he began to have the confidence and wherewithal to pursue his dreams. Indeed, Bender's benign patronage triggered the transformation of a journeyman concert pianist into the artist whose photographs, as critic Abigail Foerstner wrote in the Chicago Tribune (3 Dec. 1992), "did for the national parks something comparable to what Homer's epics did for Odysseus." Adams's technical mastery was the stuff of legend. More than any creative photographer, before or since, he reveled in the theory and practice of the medium. Weston and Strand frequently consulted him for technical advice. He served as principal photographic consultant to Polaroid and Hasselblad and, informally, to many other photographic concerns. Adams developed the famous and highly complex "zone system" of controlling and relating exposure and development, enabling photographers to creatively visualize an image and then produce a photograph that matched and expressed that visualization. He produced ten volumes of technical manuals on photography, which are the most influential books ever written on the subject. Seen in a more traditional art history context, Adams was the last and defining figure in the romantic tradition of nineteenth-century American landscape painting and photography. Adams always claimed that he was not "influenced," but, consciously or unconsciously, he was firmly in the tradition of Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, Carleton Watkins, and Eadweard Muybridge. And he was the direct philosophical heir of the American Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and John Muir. He grew up in a time and place where his zeitgeist was formed by the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt and "muscular" Americanism, by the pervading sense of manifest destiny, and the notion that European civilization was being reinvented--much for the better--in the new nation and, particularly, in the new West. Adams died in Monterey, California. Ansel Adams - American National Biography Online (Retrieved Feb. 27, 2009)

Weston, Brett (16 Dec. 1911-22 Jan. 1993), photographer, was born Theodore Brett Weston in Los Angeles, California, the son of Edward Weston, a photographer, and Flora May Chandler. Edward Weston, who earned an international reputation for his soft-focus, pictorial-style portraits, made a bold move in the early 1920s by abandoning this technique. He ventured to Mexico in 1923 with his eldest son, Edward Chandler Weston, and experimented with subtle changes in his method of photographing nudes, still lifes, and natural forms. He returned to the United States at the end of 1924 but soon left again for Mexico, this time taking Brett with him. On this trip, which lasted several months from 1925 into 1926, Edward Weston further changed his style and began using the camera to produce sharper images. This change in his father's style affected Brett Weston's future as a photographer, for it was during this time in Mexico that he first became passionate about the craft and began taking pictures himself. He was still a boy, just thirteen years old, but he was afforded the use of his father's Graflex, a precision camera that cost $135. Edward Weston became mentor to his son, whose formal education ended after the sixth grade. In 1932 Weston was given his first major solo exhibition by the M. H. De Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. Later that same year Group f/64, an informal art society founded by Ansel Adams and Willard Van Dyke and influenced by Edward Weston, asked him to contribute to their exhibition at the same museum. The group, named after the aperture setting on a camera lens that secures the greatest sharpness in the image, was comprised of photographers wanting to promote "straight" photography and protest against academic pictorialism. They also wanted recognition for West Coast photography similar to that achieved by Alfred Stieglitz in New York. In the 1980s Weston divided his time between Carmel and a home in Hawaii. His body of work continued to accumulate, and his last major project involved photographing the landscape and flora of the Hawaiian Islands. On his eightieth birthday Weston burned all but twelve of his negatives, much to the dismay of the photographic community. He strongly believed that the printing process was as important a part of the creative act as the subject matter, and therefore no one else would be capable of making the kind of print needed to express his vision fully. Weston died in Kona, Hawaii. Brett Weston - American National Biography Online (Retrieved Feb. 17, 2009)

Born in Boston in 1932, Paul Caponigro is renowned as one of America's most significant master photographers. When he was thirteen, he began to explore the world around him with his camera and subsequently sustained a career spanning nearly fifty years. He is currently regarded as one of America's foremost landscape photographers. Acclaimed for his spiritually moving images of Stonehenge and other Celtic megaliths of England and Ireland, Caponigro has more recently photographed the temples, shrines and sacred gardens of Japan. Caponigro also inspires viewers with glimpses of deep, mystical woodland of his New England haunts. Paul Caponigro biography - Photography West Gallery http://www/ (Retrieved April 13, 2009)

Manuel Carrillo was born in Mexico City in 1906 and his destiny as interpreter of his own people would not be revealed until almost half a century later. At the age of 16, in 1922, Carrillo left Mexico for New York where he pursued several odd jobs before becoming an Arthur Murray waltz and tango champion. During this period in New York, he settled down to work for the Wall Street firm of Neuss Hesslein and Co., but in 1930 he returned to his beloved Mexico. There he began working for one of the pioneers of the Mexican tourist industry Albert L. Bravo. Carrillo later abandoned that position to become the general agent for the Illinois Central Railroad's office in Mexico City, where he stayed for thirty-six years, until his retirement. At the age of 49, he joined the Club Fotografico de Mexico and the Photographic Society of America. His first international exhibition, titled, "Mi Pueblo" ("My People"), was held in 1960 at the Chicago Public Library and depicted daily life in rural Mexico. Since 1975, Carrillo's work has been seen in 209 individual exhibitions and 27 groups exhibits in Mexico, the United States, and around the world. In 1980, the Photographic Society of America named Carrillo an honorary citizen of El Paso, TX where his photographic archive is held in the El Paso Public Library. His work has been published in a variety of photographic anthologies and journals. Carrillo died in Mexico City in 1989 at the age of 83. Manuel Carrillo biography - VERVE Gallery of Photography (Retrieved April 13, 2009)

For the past fifty years, Barbara Crane worked as a photographer, creating highly formal, often abstracted images of people and the urban landscape. For Human Form, from the series Human Forms, Crane, at the time a recently divorced single mother, paid her children thirty-five cents an hour to pose for her, on their condition that their faces were not recognizable. Because of the limitations this condition placed on her photographs, Crane began to abstract the images of their bodies, playing with line, shadow, and light, to create the series' elegant forms. In Pigeons, Whole Roll, Crane explores the patterns that emerge from the seemingly innocuous events of life, taking her "mistakes," as well as chance occurrences, and molding them into a complex study of the subject matter (in this case, the pigeons). To photograph this series, she lay on her back in Chicago's Grant Park as her assistant poured pigeon feed all around her, waited for the pigeons to land, and then ran back to scatter them. Crane then cut out the individual negatives, arranged them without looking at them, and contact-printed them. In People of the North Portal (1970-71), Crane photographed people exiting Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, recording a wide variety of expressions and reactions. Some full-body shots, others focusing simply on the faces of her subjects, the photographs beautifully depict a large spectrum of human experience. With an extremely broad range of subject matter behind her, Crane focuses mostly on nature in these photographs, as in the series From Coloma to Convert. Crane, who studied at Mills College in California, completed her BA in art history at New York University and later received her MS from the Institute of Design (at the Illinois Institute of Technology). She taught for 28 years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in Photography grant, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award in Photography, Crane has participated in 170 group exhibitions and mounted 75 solo exhibitions; her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; and Museum of Contemporary Photography. Barbara Crane - Museum of Contemporary Photography (Retrieved April 13, 2009)

Born in Chicago in 1935, Joseph Jachna received a scholarship to attend the Institute of Design in 1953, but left after one year to work at the local Eastman Kodak lab. He returned to the school in 1955, where he studied with Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Frederick Sommer, and earned a bachelor's degree in art education in 1958. Deciding to focus on photography, Jachna worked for three years on his thesis, an in-depth photography study of water. These water photographs would become the cornerstone of Jachna's photographic oeuvre. Artists' fascination with water can be traced as far back as the Renaissance, when Leonardo da Vinci created exploratory sketches of water in motion. Jachna's interest in water as a photographic subject recalls the captivating seascapes of nineteenth century photographer Gustave le Gray. Still today, contemporary photographers, such as Hiroshi Sugimoto, endeavor to communicate water's mesmerizing powers. As Keith Davis, Hallmark Cards Inc.'s Fine Art Programs Director writes.... "Jachna's meditative pictures of the surfaces of lakes and streams are at once technically 'straight' and highly abstract. They are moody and dark, with the 'objective' world reduced to shimmering, spectral reflections." Unlike his teacher Aaron Siskind, who is more closely allied with the abstract expressionists such as Franz Kline, Jachna's work is based more on the meditative forces of the principles of Zen: "I have long been concerned with the line which divides things-where water reaches up to the earth, against rock or against snow. Some pictures are 'about' the line which divides light and shadow..." Joseph Jachna Following his thesis at the ID, Jachna continued to photograph nature, most notably, his Door County Day and Night series. In several Door County Day photographs Jachna has included in the frame his outstretched arm or hand, holding a small mirror or prism. These images bring to mind a series created concurrently by Kenneth Josephson, in which he juxtaposed a hand-held postcard against his subject. In Jachna's images, the artist has cleverly called the viewer's attention to the presence of both the photographer and the camera. Technically, the mirror is an essential component of the camera body's apparatus; symbolically, the mirror is an emblem of reflection. Jachna's decision to include a fragment of himself within the landscape he photographs offers the viewer a discernable link between photographer and subject, between man and nature. Additionally, the camera's lens warps Jachna's limbs in an disconcerting way that bring to mind the distorted nudes of Bill Brandt and Andre Kertesz. Jachna received his M.S. in 1961, the same year that Aperture showcased his photographs in a special issue of five ID graduate students (each selected by Aaron Siskind). After Callahan's departure in 1961, Jachna taught alongside Siskind until 1969, when he joined the faculty of the University. He taught photography there until his retirement in 2001. Jachna's first of several solo exhibitions was held in 1980 and in the years following his photographs have been included in group exhibitions at numerous major museums. Jachna's work is featured in the permanent collection of over forty institutions, including MOMA, the Smithsonian, SFMOMA, and National Museum of Art, Kyoto, Japan. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the prestigious Guggenheim fellowship (1980) and the photographer's fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1976). Joseph Jachna - Bruce Silverstein Gallery (Retrieved April 13, 2009)

Kenneth Josephson was born on July 1, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. He began making pictures with the family's snapshot camera in 1944, and bought his own 4x5 view camera two years later. He earned a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology (1957) where he studied under Minor White. In 1953 the army sent him to Germany where he was trained in photolithography and made prints of aerial reconnaissance. With the thesis "An Exploration of the Multiple Image," he earned an MS from the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institue of Technology, Chicago (1960) where he was strongly influenced by Harry Callahan. Josephson was a professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1960 to 1997, and a founding member of the Society for Photographic Education. He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship (1972) and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships (1975 and 1979). His work is in the collections of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Art Instiute and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Bibliote�que National, Paris; and Foograficka Maseet, Stockhom. Kenneth Josephson - Museum of Contemporary Photography (Retrieved April 13, 2009)

Claire Trotter, widow of the late Robert Trotter, died of cancer Dec. 21 at age 82. She was a professional photographer whose work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her work, which she called "visual haiku," also appeared in journals. She was also known for her gardening; her meditation garden was featured on tours and in Sunset magazine. Ledger Lines, University of Oregon School of Music & Department of Dance newsletter for Alumni and Friends, February 1996, vol. 8, no. 1 (Retrieved April 13, 2009)


Arranged alphabetically by photographer name.

Index Terms

Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984
Caponigro, Paul, 1932-
Carrillo, Manuel, 1906-
Crane, Barbara, 1928-
Gilbert family -- Photograph collections
Jachna, Joseph D.
Josephson, Kenneth, 1932-
Trotter, Claire
Weston, Brett

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Gilbert family photographic archives, MS 1733. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

OS Folder
1AAnsel Adams
OS Folder
2APaul Caponigro
OS Folder
3AManuel Carillo
OS Folder
4ABarbara Crane
OS Folder
5AJoseph Jachna
OS Folder
6AKenneth Josephson
OS Folder
7AClaire Trotter
OS Folder
8ABrett Weston