A local photographer captures California moments in his new book – Monterey Herald

Seeing a picture of Bob Colbrenner doesn’t mean looking at a picture. It is an experience that requires time and attention, the desire to go out there, spend time with the subject as well as composition, shapes, shadows, light and dark, getting to know what the lead photographer saw and what he felt before he fired the shutter.

Kolbrener, who took color photos but is best known for his black and white photos, began his photography journey during his final year in college, when the athlete was looking for something to do during the cold and dreary winter in St. Louis. , Missouri.

He said, “I finally got to the point where I loved photography so much, and wanted to find a way to do it every day. I started with sports photography and then moved on to advertising.”

However, he really committed to art form after he made his first trip west, discovering the aesthetic of Ansel Adams.

Photo courtesy of Bob Colbrenner
Photo courtesy of Bob Colbrenner

“I was born and raised in the country, so I would photograph the landscape or outside the home I grew up in,” he said, “taking the camera to take pictures of forests, ponds, and streams. However, as soon as I saw Ansel Adams’ work, I was stunned. I realized I had no real understanding.” For how to make classic black and white landscape photography.”

The following spring, Kolbrener was one of Adams’ students at Yosemite. It has been capturing the grandeur of the national park ever since.

This month, Bob Colbrenner, who lives with his muse, model and wife Sharon, in the former Carmel Highlands community of Ansel Adams, released his fifth book of photography, “California.” The limited-edition, box-bound book offers 58 plates or photographs, complemented by a cover photo of a rainbow over Yosemite Bridal Fall, and “Fall Morning,” a rendered photo of a misty morning in the garden. The last image in the book depicts a contemplative moment between Colbrenner and Ansel Adams in 1969, which Colbrenner considers a moment of permission from his mentor.

“Yosemite has always been a great place for garden photography,” Kolbrener said. “And I’ve been shooting here on the coast, by the ocean for many years, so I collected all of these prints. I sent 100 8×10 reproductions to Chris Pitchler of Nazraeli Press. He chose 60 photos and put them together to make what this book became.”

Gary F. wrote. Kurutz, Curator Emeritus of Special Collections at the California State Library, prefaces the book, creating context for Kohlbrenner’s work, and inviting, in this age of digital photography, to explore this collection of black and white photography, printed in his darkroom, of oversized negatives.

“California’s gorgeous terrain, from its dramatic coastline to its lofty peaks to its harsh but compelling deserts, has long been a magnet for landscape photographer, and there is no better contemporary interpreter of its natural wonders than Bob Colbrenner,” wrote Kurutz. “He continues the tradition of famous graphic artists such as Carlton E. Watkins, Edward Muybridge, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.”

Kolbrener’s photography brings to mind the words of Kate Sanborn, which Kurtz quoted from her book, “A Truthful Woman in Southern California” (1909): “California is the largest world in the whole country,” a claim he considers supported by Kolbrener’s work.

“I love the history of photography, especially when it comes to California and the West,” said Kurutz. “Bob is a great photographer. He has a very good eye but also very good insight. I am very impressed with his brilliance, his concepts and his ability to see the photo or the potential of the photo in the crash wave, even before he sets up his camera. California has so many beautiful landscapes. He is a constant inspiration. “.

seize the moment

Colbrenner portrayed people, especially his wife, Sharon, as his model, in the context of a landscape. However, any picture, he says, without something of a “human” in the composition, can be called a landscape.

“The biggest misconception in landscape photography is that the landscape photographer is sitting around waiting for the beautiful picture of a breaking wave,” Kolbrener said. “The fact of the matter is that I am not a sculptor or painter sitting in my studio, smoking my pipe, taking a sip, and meditating on my next step in This process. About 90% of the time, I don’t shoot. And 90% of the time, there’s no cloud in the sky.”

He says color photographers have to get up to capture this angular orange light. Conversely, Kolbrener’s photographic moments are those very short windows of opportunity, usually weather related, when magical things happen, like huge winter waves, snowstorms, or when lightning strikes. His job is to catch it before it’s gone.

He said, “The reason there are so few good black and white photographers historically is that they can’t move fast enough to shoot landscapes, to get the shot. We’ve never heard of how fast Ansel Adams moved, but he was about as fast as you get. That’s how you get On those short-lived photos. It’s a race.”

California will be presented at a special book signing event on November 12, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., at the Carmel Art Gallery of Photography.

“We are so excited to have Bob Colbrenner on show to share his gorgeous silver gelatin prints, in person, of his California landscape,” said Anne Gastrap, Executive Director of the Center. “Don’t miss the chance to meet Bob and see both his original darkroom prints and his new book. He will be signing and producing copies of this much-anticipated picture book, so come to the gallery for this special event.”

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