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Making a Photograph: Iconic Images and Their Origins

The Center for Creative Photography houses many masterpieces, such as Edward Weston’s Pepper No. 30 and Ansel Adams’s Moonrise over Hernandez.

Seen from a historical distance, these landmarks appear in splendid isolation. Yet this perspective neglects the lived experience—the artist’s, the subject’s, the viewer’s—that is essential to photography.

“Each individual photograph is part of a process, the result of experimentation, persistence, research, accident, and luck. The Center hopes that this special presentation of popular
images together with archive pieces helps viewers think about masterpieces and how they came to be,” said Britt Salvesen, Center curator and
interim director.

Making a Photograph: Iconic Images and Their Origins presents evidence of this process—negatives, field notes, contact sheets, source material—casting iconic images in a new light and expanding our sense of photography’s expressive potential. The exhibition opens October 20, 2007. Two programs are planned for the public: an opening reception on Friday, October 19, including a lecture by author Geoff Dyer, and a reception and artists’ talk on November 16 with Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe, whose work is featured in Making a Photograph. The exhibition closes January 26, 2008.

The exhibition’s title comes from Ansel Adams, who used it in 1935 for the first of many books outlining his conviction that a photograph is crafted and designed by an artist rather than simply taken or recorded by a machine. Making a Photograph is not a chronological history of photography but instead an examination of photographic creativity.

Organized in seven sections identifying different arenas where decisions are made and meanings are determined, the exhibition includes works by Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Wynn Bullock, Harry Callahan, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Frank Gohlke, Robert Heinecken, Mark Klett and Byron Wolf, Wright Morris, Hans Namuth, Jim Pomeroy, Aaron Siskind, W. Eugene Smith, Rosalind Solomon, Frederick Sommer, Edward Weston, Garry Winogrand, and others, as well as materials from the landmark exhibition The Family of Man and from three of the first commercial galleries dedicated to photography: Limelight, the Witkin Gallery, and LIGHT, all in New York.

Opening Reception and Lecture
Geoff Dyer: I’m Not There
Friday, October 19, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Gallery opens at 4:30 p.m., lecture begins at 5:30 p.m., reception begins at 6:30 p.m.
Geoff Dyer is the author of many books, including The Ongoing Moment (Little, Brown, 2005),
for which he received the International Center of Photography’s 2006 Infinity Award for Writing
on Photography. He will discuss photographic creativity in comparison with inspiration in
literature, music, and other visual arts, examining how knowledge of drafts and early versions
enriches our understanding of a given artist’s work.

Reception and Artists’ Talk
Working Through Space and Time Equations: Collaborative Projects by Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe
Friday, November 16, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Artists’ talk begins at 5:30 p.m., reception begins at 6:30 p.m.
Photographers Klett and Wolfe will discuss how their combined work influences their individual
projects and how historical works have also shaped their ideas. Klett’s books include Yosemite in
Time: Ice Ages, Tree Clocks, Ghost Rivers (Trinity University Press, 2005), and Third Views,
Second Sights: A Rephotographic Survey of the American West
(Museum of New Mexico Press,
2004). He is Regents’ Professor of Art at Arizona State University. Wolfe is the author of
Everyday: A Yearlong Photo Diary (Chronicle Books, 2007). He is Associate Professor of
Photography and Digital Imaging at California State University, Chico.
This program is co-sponsored by the Society of Photographic Education West and Southwest
Joint Regional Conference

Release date: 
Tuesday, October 16, 2007