Margery Mann

  • Paul Hassel, Robert Heinecken, Phil Palmer

    The photographer-editor relationship is a controversy that has been widely debated in the past and will no doubt continue to be widely debated as long as there are photographers and editors to debate. “The photographer must never be allowed to arrange his own work,” claims the editor. “He is too close to it. He falls in love with mediocre images because they were difficult to obtain. He is unable to subordinate the single image to the whole.” “Not so,” cries the photographer. “I was there. I saw. I pressed the shutter, and only I can decide the order and importance of each photograph.”

    At the

  • “Walnut Grove: Portrait of a Town” at the San Francisco Museum of Art

    WALNUT GROVE IS A LITTLE TOWN on the Sacramento River about thirty miles south of Sacramento. It was founded by miners who were disillusioned with the search for gold, and who moved to the fertile flatland to grow food. By 1870, it was a lively community flourishing on agriculture and gambling. By 1871, boats going up and down the river between Sacramento and San Francisco stopped daily at Walnut Grove with cargoes of freight and passengers; the town had a pony express stop, a stage coach station, a steamboat landing, and a railroad depot. The abolition of gambling and the common use of the

  • “Group 10” at the Kaiser Center, Oakland

    IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE that anyone at the Oakland Museum could be so naive that he would sponsor this exhibit to represent what is going on in Bay Area photography. The show is an incredible mishmash of the clichés of the salons and of hack commercial photography for the past forty years. There is the swan framed by drooping wands of leaves; the wooden bowl full of onions; the caladium leaf pattern; the high-key photograph of eggs and cups. There is even the metal tankard and bunch of grapes with Rembrandt lighting. And of course there is the weathered door with the knob in the middle. If every

  • Brett Weston at Toren Gallery

    THE TOREN GALLERY, at 30 West Portal Avenue, San Francisco, should be high on the list of places to be visited by students of photography. Mr. Toren, a commercial photographer himself, opens the front part of his establishment to occasional extensive shows by other photographers. Here we saw the recent color abstractions by Wynn Bullock. The current exhibit contains about fifty black-and-white contact prints by Brett Weston, a cross section of his work for a number of years. Weston’s photographs capture a wide variety of subjects—the ocean; landscapes, particularly in the southwest; plant forms;

  • “Ideas in Images” at the Oakland Art Museum

    The current exhibit at the Oakland Art Museum, “Ideas in Images,” selected by Peter Pollack, former Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, and author of the handsome but rather superficial “Picture History of Photography,” includes Ansel Adams, Margaret Bourke-White, Harry Callahan, Bruce Davidson, Andreas Feininger, William Garnett, Gyorgy Kepes, Arnold Newman, Gordon Parks, and Todd Webb. They provide a broad picture of present-day photography, its diversity, its successes, its limitations. Each photographer shows ten prints which are grouped together at some distance from

  • “The Bitter Years” at the San Francisco Museum of Art

    BETWEEN 1935 AND 1941, there occurred a unique period in the history of photography. The New Deal administration, faced with the reality of destructive depression, was eager to experiment in many fields to bring the economy back to prosperity, and the government turned to photographers to tell the story of how the depression had affected rural America. In 1935, President Roosevelt had created the Resettlement Administration within the Department of Agriculture, and had appointed Rexford Guy Tugwell, then Under Secretary of Agriculture and formerly Professor of Economics at Columbia University,

  • Photography: Thomas and Margaret Tenney; Richard Weymouth Brooks

    THOMAS AND MARGARET TENNEY, San Francisco Museum Of Art: The Tenneys have created a show that had to be created—the inevitable translation of Pop art from billboard to photograph, and it is fortunate that the translation was made by photographers who viewed their project so lightly and humorously. The Tenneys have not photographed advertisements aimed at a rich, sophisticated, or intellectual audience, only advertisements with mass appeal. The hamburger is seen as the ultimate in culinary delight; taking your girl for a ride in a convertible with the top down is the ultimate in status. Both

  • Photography

    RUTH BERNARD, AARDVARK GALLERY: Ruth Bernhard’s sad little show which opens the relocated Aardvark Gallery raises some disquieting ques­tions about the differences between the artist-painter and the artist-pho­tographer. While the artist-painter often carries wet canvases into the gallery, because his ideas have been boiling as he worked under the pres­sure of the impending exhibit, the artist-photographer plays it safe and shows the same old prints again and again. Most, if not all, of Miss Bernhard’s prints have been around for a long time—the skull with the crucifix, the pigeons through the

  • “Certain Aspects of the American Dream in the Mid Nineteen Sixties” at the Richmond Art Center

    BAY AREA PHOTOGRAPHY IS FLAILING around like a carp caught in the muddy pool of a drying stream. There is tremendous activity but little progress. We might—abruptly changing the metaphor—divide the photographers having one-man shows into two columns. As the leader of one column we see Ansel Adams, and at the head of the other we imagine the shade of the late Edward Weston. The photographers standing in the column behind Adams are older—many of them look like business or professional men on holiday costumed by Abercrombie and Fitch—but a few of them are obviously old-time naturalists. They carry

  • Richard Elkus’s Alamos at the De Young Museum

    It is fortunate that the De Young has chosen to show Richard Elkus’s photographs from his book, Alamos, since few of us will have the opportunity to see the book, which was published by Grabhorn Press in an edition of fewer than 500 copies and costs $75. The book is a magnificent, opulent volume, almost a tribute to the taste of Renaissance man, for its spine is covered in rich brown suede and it is bound in specially-woven Mexican fabric––actually, more accurately, Mexicanesque, for the light brown, orange and buff look to have been mingled by an interior decorator rather than by a Mexican

  • Ruth-Marion Baruch’s Illusion For Sale at the San Francisco Museum of Art

    Ruth-Marion Baruch has carried her camera into department stores to study women as they buy cosmetics, jewelry, clothes to make themselves more beautiful. The idea is such a splendid one that it is disappointing that Miss Baruch has not investigated very extensively or in very great depth. And the casual arrangement of her prints destroys any impact that careful editing might give. Many of Miss Baruch’s prints are almost good; few of them are excellent. She has too often selected not quite the right moment, not quite the right place. A charming study of a young girl critically examining herself

  • Imogen Cunningham at the San Francisco Museum of Art

    The first successful photographs were made between 1835 and 1840 (Daguerre’s photograph of the corner of his studio is dated 1837, and his daguerreotype process was described to the Academy of Sciences in Paris in 1839), and for almost 65 years, half the entire history of the medium, Imogen Cunningham has made photographs. She was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1883, and when she was six years old, she moved with her family to Seattle. In 1900, she saw reproductions of photographs by Gertrude Kasebier, who was later a member of Photo-Secession, and she dreamed of becoming a photographer as good

  • Bruce Goodell at the Richmond Art Center

    Goodell’s gimmick (bits and snippets of the world: license plates, shingles, a hinge on a gate, the signs on buses) has entrapped many young photographers. Seen and expressed by an intensely philosophical, intensely imaginative photographer, Aaron Siskind perhaps, the bits of the world may embody many things, humor, sadness, horror. Goodell, like many others, has photographed almost at random, and the lack of imagination and emphasis has reduced simplicity to insignificance.

    ––Margery Mann

  • Oscar Maurer at the Oakland Art Museum

    The history and legends of the San Francisco earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906, have given rise to such a vast body of “Earthquakeana”––pictures, books, films––that one more exhibit might seem superfluous. The current show at the Oakland Museum, twenty photographs by Oscar Maurer, is, however, such a splendid, moving representation of the chaos and destruction that followed the catastrophe that it is well worth seeing.

    Maurer, who is now 94 years old, began to photograph in the 1890s. The Museum shows a small album of his platinum prints––portraits and landscapes––made before 1900; and early

  • Our San Francisco at the San Francisco Museum of Art

    EVERY YEAR, AT CHRISTMAS TIME, competing with the expen­sive publications of glossy reproduc­tions of the paintings of Botticelli and the inevitable volumes of carefully-­diagrammed instructions for cooking just like Escoffier in your own kitchen­ette, there is, of course, a book about San Francisco. From this year’s ex­ample, “Our San Francisco,” published by Diablo Press, the San Francisco Mu­seum of Art is showing ten photographs by each of the five photographers whose work is included, Ernest Braun, Jacqueline Paul, Michael Bry, Jerry Stoll, and Phiz Mozesson. The book’s text is by San

  • “The Woods” at San Francisco Museum Of Art

    McLEOD VOLZ AND MARY MOSTELLER have followed and photographed two children as they played freely and let their imaginations encompass the trees and flowers, frogs and insects, of Muir Woods. The show has an introduction by Harold Gilliam which makes it a plea for conservation: preserve open, unspoiled areas where children may play and dream. The show, as spread on the two sides of a corridor in the San Francisco Museum, tells a less poetic story than it does in the book published last year, although the reproduction of the photographs in the book is abominable. Without the careful interweaving

  • Grover Sales, Jr. at City Lights

    Amidst some rather standard portraits of jazz musicians and night club personalities—Pee Wee Russell, Barbara Streisand, Dizzy Gillespie—which would seem at home in the entrance of a night club or perhaps on a record jacket, Sales has included a portrait of Ansel Adams which reduces him to a quaint character with a beard and a funny hat, and of Allen Ginsberg which merely shows us that he was really and truly so close to him that Ginsberg waved at him. The rest of the photographs are camera clubby. The oh-so-dear little girl in the short shorts twisting her body to look coyly sideways at Bronzino’s

  • Jaqueline Paul at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    Miss Paul spent three and a half years in Japan, studying and documenting the effect of the rapid westernization of Japanese culture on the young people of Tokyo. In her current exhibit, “The Search,” and in her recent book, Japan Quest, she shows the people of Tokyo living much like people in the western world: they ride on the subway; they go on picnics; they marry young; they have children; they participate in sports. But they have suddenly embraced western ways, and they are often attracted by the surface appearance, which they have attempted to superimpose on their traditional way of life.

  • Hal Roth at the San Francisco Museum of Art

    For “Some Images of Chinatown” Mr. Roth has created an imaginary day in the life of the Chinese community; at the beginning, an old woman surveys the new day from her window; at the end, a merchant adds up his accounts after everyone else has gone to sleep. Between morning and night, Roth takes us to schools, a funeral, the theatre—all external, public events that could be seen by any curious tourist. Roth’s understanding is tourist superficial, and his photographs are shallow and pedestrian. At best, they look as if his photographic imagination had been weaned on back issues of the National

  • Richard Conrat at the San Francisco Museum of Art

    IN FIFTY PHOTOGRAPHS, Conrat shows us the people he has seen as he has carried his camera around Mexico and around San Francisco. His photographs avoid being picturesque—quaint natives in quaint costumes—only because Conrat is a good designer. He has an alert eye for capturing satisfying images of people in their settings, the placid Bread Market Couple, Oaxaca with the arrangement and texture of their baskets, with a rebozo, so necessary for the design, draped over a basket; or for expressing the rhythms of their movements against the landscape, women strain to push a boat into Lake Patzcuaro,