Tracy Valleau started taking photographs over 60 years ago, and today his work is part of the permanent photography collections of several museums and foundations. His photos have appeared in many books and magazines as well as exhibitions at the CPA, and in a solo show at the Triton Museum of Art. He is a past instructor of photography at the graduate school of the Academy of Art University, and he continues to review images, lecture and instruct. Mr. Valleau is a member of ImageMakers.
Tracy began photography in 1957, when he built his first darkroom at age 10. He attended UCSD and SDSU; served in the Army during the Vietnam era and moved to Monterey in 1972.
Tracy began computer programming in 1978, and is a certified Mac Consultant. He has authored many commercial software packages for clients including Apple, Disney, Sony, National Geographic, McGraw-Hill, PBS and others.
Mr. Valleau began video editing in 1973 for the NIMH, and recently finished a film on Wynn Bullock’s color photography. Today he continues editing video, designing websites (including this one), Macintosh consulting, and of course, photography.
Commenting on Tracy’s work, renown photographer Richard Garrod calls them “Strong, expressive images with an elegant simplicity.”
Of his own work, Mr. Valleau notes “At the start of my journey into photography, the subject of my photos were things – from flowers to people to mountains. I was documenting some aspect of these I found interesting or pretty. Now however, those things may be the object, but are no longer the subject. Instead they and their context are the vessel for delivering something more close to our human nature: a shared awareness and experience of being alive, found in the art around us.
It is from pattern and form that we get the reassurance of fitting into a larger yet chaotic universe, and it is the photographer’s perspective which composes and thereby reveals that form. Does the photographer create the form, or does the form exist independently? This is as much a question about life as it is about photography.
A fine-art photographic print is therefore not only reportage. It is an instant of revealed form, through which the viewer sees our shared and essential human condition. Such a photograph endures beyond a single viewing, because it opens a previously unseen door, not so much to our world, as to our collective human soul.