Don Whitebread

Don has been making photographs since he took his Instamatic to document the elusive Willy Mays, and has been lucky enough to engage in passions and professions that continue to enhance and inform his photography.  While Don has had opportunities to photograph in remote places around the world, his creative home is the Great American West where he is currently working on a portfolio of night landscape photography.  His other notable work includes Green Sea Turtles and magical jungle clearing in Hawaii, Hangar One at Moffett Field, the landscape and culture of Yemen, and life along the Nile in Egypt.  Don took some darkroom classes in college, but was largely self taught through reading, collaboration and experimentation.  He knows Ansel Adams’ books by heart, and has acquired valuable knowledge and inspiration from study with John Sexton, Ray MacSavaney, Brigitte Carnochan, and Mark Nelson.

Recent accomplishments include solo exhibits at the World Affairs Council of Northern California and the San Francisco Airport Museum, and group exhibits at the Center for Photographic Art, Viewpoint Photographic Art Center, Etherton Gallery, and Yosemite Renaissance.  His work has received awards from Black and White magazine, the Black and White Spider Awards, and the Photography Masters Cup Awards.  His portfolios have been featured in Black and White Magazine, and he has published a number of articles in Luminous Landscape and Photo Techniques.

Artist’s Statement

I spent the summers of my youth wherever my father’s work as a geologist took us, usually camped deep in a desert mountain range. I loved to watch the slow change of light and weather during the day, and the flow of stars across the sky at night. There is no more profound way to experience a sense of our small place in something infinitely large than taking time to watch the swirling stars on a dark night.  I started photographing the landscape at night years ago when I gradually discovered the special set of conditions that were needed.  Whatever the planning, travel and weather complications, when I start an exposure, the hour or two I spend waiting and watching in the faint starlight is rejuvenating.

Ancient cultures used the stars to predict the seasons and navigate the seas. For millennia, religions and myths were based on the positions of the stars and planets. Humans have a long relationship with the night sky, yet today, that connection has largely been lost. Organizations I work with are helping decrease light pollution, but that still does not get people outside at night.  My original goal to record an impression of the night sky has become a mission to remind people that the stars and their light on the landscape have played a major part in the human experience, and should be appreciated in ways we may have forgotten.