Issue No. 61
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On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA), senior contributing editor Richard Pitnick talks with founding director Arthur Ollmann (retired), new director Deborah Klochko, and curator Carol McCusker.
After a successful career as an advertising executive and commercial photographer, he decided to retire early and devote himself full time to fine art photography. His early endeavor focused on the landscape of his home state of Wyoming, and resulted in a book titled The Range of Memory. His latest focus is quite different—in an exclusive 12-page feature we show his new work from Tuscany.
In 1954—he was in his mid-20s—this now-legendary photojournalist was invited to take pictures of Marilyn Monroe as she filmed her famous “white dress“ scene in The Seven Year Itch.
We feature a selection of highly artistic images from his seminal work on the Berlin Wall, which he returned to no less than 30 times between 1982 and 1993.
He specializes in long-term photo-essays on rural communities in California’s Central Valley and southern Mexico.“Ultimately, it’s your degree of affinity for what’s in front of you that determines the quality of your work—how in tune you are, and how deeply it moves you.”
“The people in my photographs are people trying to survive,” he says about his Cuban work. He first visited in 1997 and has since made 41 more trips. “I have firsthand know-ledge of their situation. I have eaten their food, breathed their air…”
“I’ll see an image in my waking life but may not know if it’s real or from my dreams. I’ve found that there’s a thin line between my dream life and my waking life.”
“When I lived in the Bronx as a kid, I’d pick a direction and keep walking. Later, the camera gave me purpose to walk the streets and shoot. My photographs are like my diary—they tell me what I’ve done and where I’ve been.”
Based in Bangkok, he focuses on poverty, refugees, regional conflicts, and natural disasters. “The power of photography is such that it makes people look inside themselves and bring about change.”
Using infrared film, and often incorporating multiple-imaging techniques she learned as an assistant to Jerry Uelsmann, her photographs invite the viewer to travel through otherworldly scenes where objects seem to assume symbolic meaning.
His latest series of images derive from a fascination with urban, industrial, and architectural subjects, which in their final mode evolve into unique expressions of abstract form.