My interest in photography began back in the seventies when I took a close-up photography class from David Cavagnaro through the Oakland Museum. In that class we crawled on our bellies in a Yosemite meadow, photographing bugs and stuff. As a result of that class, several of my images were exhibited at the Oakland Museum. Although I was immediately interested in more photo classes, my work schedule precluded it until my retirement from the commercial real estate world some forty years later. I then enrolled in a black and white film class taught by Sean McFarland at Diablo Valley College and I was hooked.

In the year that followed, I had taken four additional photography classes, built a darkroom, acquired a medium format camera and joined the Marin Photography Club. At my first meeting of the photo club, I introduced myself to the sixty or so photographers present as one interested in film photography. A gentleman sitting next to me poked an elbow into my rib and told me that he and I were perhaps the only members in the room working with film. All others were digital photographers.

Wanting to learn the craft, I immersed myself in classes and workshops from such luminaries as John Sexton and Alan Ross. I regularly attended the member critiques at SF Camerawork. Later I joined the board at SF Camerawork and I served on that board for eight years.

While many photographers regularly upgrade to the latest technology, my latest acquisition was a Chamonix large format 4×5 field camera, conceptually unchanged in seventy years.

My photography has been shown in over twenty exhibits, the most recent: An international juried exhibition, The Shape of Things, Praxis Gallery, Minneapolis, MN; A juried group exhibition, Landscape, PhotoPlace Gallery, Middlebury, VT.

Seven of my exhibits have been solo exhibits including: New Mexico, a Meditative State, Curated by Jeffrey Richardson, Farmington Museum, Farmington, NM; New Mexico, a Meditative State, Plaza Galeria, Santa Fe, NM. Opening soon: What Are Men to Rocks and Mountains, Piedmont Center for the Arts, Piedmont, CA.

Artist’s Statement

In my younger years I spent many summers backpacking in the High  Sierra. Upon awakening I would open a flap of my tent to see that the dew on the grasses had frozen during the night. Water vapor would rise from the lakes in slow swirls. At dusk the alpenglow would engulf the rocky crags in flame. The pristine land, the smells of the mountain air and the lingering silence became part of who I am.  These were spiritual experiences for me.

It was no wonder then, that as my interest developed in photography, landscape would become my primary genre. I wanted to capture not only the physical beauty of the landforms in my photography, but the spiritual essence as well.

I became interested in the historical work of Carleton Watkins and Timothy O’Sullivan. Later the work of the photographers of the Group f.64 of the thirties became the focus of my interest. This group included among others:  Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, Sonya Noskowiak, Bret Weston and Dorothea Lange. Group f.64 was one of the first modern art movements defined by men and women working as equals. This group became my heroes.

In that tradition, it was only natural that I would evolve to work exclusively in black and white. Landscape emerged as my primary genre, although I have been dipping my toes into the waters of abstract and urban themes as well. I enjoy finding compositional possibilities in both the natural world as well as man-made subjects. I consider composition to be more important than subject matter  in determining the success of a photograph.

All of my work is film based. Nothing is photoshopped, nothing is manipulated digitally.  I photograph with either a large format 4 x 5 Chamonix field camera or a 35mm Leica M6.

It has been said that every ripple from a pebble thrown into a pond, leaves a lasting impression upon the shore. I would thus hope that my photographs might likewise leave some impression upon the minds and souls of those viewing them whether they be family, friends, fellow photographers or total strangers.

My portfolio can be viewed at:  www.kenhoffmanphotography.com

For inquiries: ken@kenhoffmanphotography.com