Wednesday, April 25, 2007

John Wimberley

John Wimberley
John Wimberley

John Wimberley

John Wimberley was born in Paget, Bermuda, in 1945. His family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1948, where he continued to live until 2003. As a child, John was fascinated with fairy tales and myths, which he feels had a major influence on his later work. He first became involved with photography while serving in the Navy durint the 1960's. As an aviation electronics technician on aircraft carriers during the Viet Nam war, John's first pictures were of flight operations. Upon his discharge in 1967, he avidly pursued color street and landscape photography. Unfortunately, almost all this work, totaling more than 10,000 slides, was lost to water damage.
The direction of John's photography took a radical shift in February, 1969. A profound experience while photographing a group of trees in Canyon del Puerto, California, caused him to switch to black and white. More importantly, his began to focus exclusively on what he perceived as spiritual aspects of the world. He began a long-term study of Jungian psychology, shamanism and spiritual disciplines. The need to earn a living as an electronics technician limited his time for photography to lunchtimes, evenings, weekends and vacations. The year 1973 brought his first one-man show. Reviewing it, Artweek Magazine noted: "His prints are not merely technically correct, but wonderfully alive." In 1983 John had the first of two, two-man exhibitions with Ansel Adams.
During the 1970 and 1980's, John's emphasis was on the landscape. He photographed repeatedly at locations which to him conveyed spiritual power, returning to certain locations for more than 25 years. Many exhibitions followed to rising acclaim. In 1981, he made a series of photographs of a woman underwater, which resulted in Descending Angel. That year John published Presence, a limited edition portfolio of 12 prints. He also left electronics to devote his full time and energy to photography, and has lived from print sales ever since.
Trips to New Zealand in 1985 and Ireland in 1986 added to his growing body of work. He became a sought-after workshop teacher and lecturer. In addition, since the early 1970's John has performed research into photographic developer chemistry, resulting in two pyrogallol film developer formulae that are marketed by The Photographer's Formulary of Condon, Montana. An article he published in 1977 initiated the current renaissance in the use of pyrogallol. He became a sought-after expert in black and white film development chemistry and techniques.
During the second half of the 1990's John's photography concentrated on the ghost towns and abandoned mining camps of Nevada. Then in 2000, his deep interest in shamanism led him to begin photographing Native American rock art sites. Now, with more than 38 years in photography, John's critically acclaimed work has been honored with more than 50 exhibitions and has been published around the world. His work is represented in more than 400 public and private collections, including many major museums.



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