Earth Portraits, an exhibition of photography spanning five decades.
About the Art
As an avid hiker and climber, photography became a logical adjunct to my efforts. As time went on, photography became an end in itself, and of course, in photographing nature, color photography seemed to be the way to go.
However, it didn’t take long to realize that color photography, especially in those years, failed to provide the freedom of expression I was looking for. Furthermore, back in the ‘70’s the medium was not very permanent. The other only option was black and white photography. So I ventured through a door that led me into another universe.
It was challenging because I was left with only black, white, and shades of grey to express myself. On the other hand, it was a deviation from reality, and soon I realized what a creative release it provided. If you are deviating from reality to begin with, why can you not really deviate to achieve a desired effect? However, to do this required endless testing and trial and error experimentation. It proved to be worth it, and soon I realized that to accomplish my ultimate goals I needed to master the use of the view camera, which completed my evolution. Now, I had creativity, the ability to handle a wide range of lighting situations, and permanence as well.
I never lost my desire to photograph nature and landscapes. It was as if the earth were posing for me, and it was my job to capture the scene as I would the portrait of a person. But, I still had two people to satisfy, myself and the viewer, and I sincerely hope that the subject would have been pleased as well.
This is an exhibition of “Earth Portraits” consisting of images made over a period spanning five decades.
Cleveland-based photographer Walter Grossman studied with Ansel Adams and is internationally recognized for his black and white photography. Mr. Grossman, a nature and hiking enthusiast, has been photographing our great American landscapes for decades. In his pursuit to master fine art printing, Mr. Grossman was challenged with producing color or black and white prints. He eventually abandoned color for the mastery of black and white.
Mr. Grossman’s work was introduced to Ansel Adams in 1979 and after careful inspection of several of Grossman’s prints, Mr. Adams invited him to make contact to discuss some aspects of his techniques and make some recommendations. Mr. Grossman did so, and opened a dialog that went on for three years. At that point, Mr. Adams invited Grossman to visit him at his home in Carmel, California to do an “in person” evaluation of his work. The two photographers met in July of 1982, and Mr. Grossman came away with some ‘concepts’ that he was able to apply to the enhancement of his work over the subsequent years.
The association between the photographers, both by phone and by letter, continued until Mr. Adams’ passing in 1984.
Mr. Grossman’s works appear in many private collections, nationally and internationally. He currently teaches conventional photography at Lorain County Community College.
(excerpted in part from an article by Bill Baughman, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; photo editor, The Cleveland Press