I try to make a successful photograph of a common or oft seen subject- to bring forward the common, and make it uncommon with grace and simplicity and good craft. I’ve been photographing from the air since the 1950’s. I enjoy flying in a small airplane. I’m comfortable photo-graphing through an open window or even with the door removed 1000 feet above the ground, at 125 mph. I prefer older planes as they fly slower. Many of these photographs were made from a 1946 Aeronca cruising at 65 mph.
As a small boy, I remember lying on the grass in the summertime, watching the clouds. Once in a while an airplane slowly moved through my view. They seemed so far away, yet I could faintly hear their engines. That was in the 1930’s. Today the clouds can be obscured by aerial contamination and any airplanes passing through probably are fast moving jets. It’s not the same. And why should it be? This is the 21st Century. Adjust, old boy, or get lost in the dust.
There are a few photographs in this exhibit that are not made from an airplane. I feel flying has influenced all of my other work. There are no near-far relationships. Everything is from a distance. Even close-ups appear flat plane with no depth, just like aerials. When doing a landscape, on the ground, even with a tripod, my work frequently looks like it was done from a plane. Look at the photographs Sea Palms, Point Lobos, Surf Big Sur or Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point as examples.As a small boy, I remember lying on the grass in the summertime, watching the clouds. Once in a while an airplane slowly moved through my view. They seemed so far away, yet I could faintly hear their engines. That was in the 1930’s. Today the clouds can be obscured by aerial contamination and any airplanes passing through probably are fast moving jets. It’s not the same. And why should it be? This is the 21st Century. Adjust, old boy, or get lost in the dust.
Al Weber’s career in photography spans six decades and includes both black-and-white and color processes. The subjects of his commercial assignments and personal work run the gamut from aerial, industrial and architectural photography to portraits, abstracts and imagery of the American Southwest, including 50 years of photographing American Indian rock art.
Al was raised in Colorado, son of an avid hunter/ fisherman. Al did not enjoy these sports so on outings with his father he captured what did hold meaning to him with a camera. Attending the University of Denver, he majored in Photography, emphasizing studio portraiture. He stayed on to get a second degree in Education. After 4 years in the Marine Corps, he settled in California where he now lives in Carmel Highlands with his wife, Suzie. They have three sons, Chris, Ben and Robert.
Weber has taught throughout the West. Starting at Monterey Peninsula College, the Friends of Photography, where he chaired the Education Committee and was a Trustee, University of California at Santa Cruz, 18 years at the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite, The School of the Art Institute, Cal Arts, Photographers Formulary, Penland School and the Snake River Institute, He’s been Artist-In-Residence at a dozen universities including Baylor, Colorado Art Institute, Columbia College, University of Oregon and Cal State Los Angeles.
He’s proud of the Victor School program that he and his wife Suzie established in 1977 in Colorado. During the school’s twenty-seven years, they offered courses with Morley Baer, Jerry Uelsmann, Edna Bullock, Hal Halberstadt, Dave Bohn, Edmund Teske, Todd Walker, Marie Cosindas, Barbara Crane, Dorr Bothwell, Huntington Witherill, Doug Busch, Cole Weston, Ralph Putzker and Lou Stoumen and Kazumitsu Okutomi.
Weber is committed to preserving the work of other photographers. He started the Foundation for Photographic Preservation (FfPP). They rescued Carmel photographer Steve Crouch’s work from a truck headed for the dump, and also saved much of Oliver Gagliani’s prints from being burned. FfPP continues as a small group of volunteers.
- California Art Counsel grant for Indian Rock Art, 1977
- Permanent Collections: The Art Institute of Chicago; Utah Museum of Fine Art, Western Nebraska Art Center, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Monterey Museum of Art
- Publications: Architectural Digest, Doubleday, McGraw Hill, Sunset Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Holiday Magazine
- Commercial Work: Dupont, International Harvester, Kaiser Coal, Kaiser Aluminum, Litton Industries, Union Carbide.
- Consulting: Eastman Kodak, Polaroid, Hasselblad, Ilford, Ciba Geigy, McHenry Library at UC Santa Cruz
This 60-page soft-cover catalog features all 52 images in the Al WeberAerial Photographs exhibition, along with his artist’s statement and biography. Al explains his approach to aerial photography and the fact that his aerial point of view has since affected many of his land-based photographs. You may purchase this book at the CPA Gallery for $25.00, and may also be previewed and purchased from our online publisher: MagCloud.