San Francisco

“Being and Passage: Photographs by William R. Hawken”

David Cole Gallery

To ask whether photography is an art is as meaningless as it would be to ask if painting or sculpture are arts; but it makes very good sense to ask if a particular photographer is an artist. In the case of Bill Hawken the answer is clearly yes.

This photographer has a straightfor­ward concept of means and ends––technically and esthetically. Like Edward Weston, he believes in settling pretty much for one film, one developer, one paper––and then exploiting the bejesus out of the combination, which from total familiarity with every step, he is in a position to do. Thus Hawken is free to use his eyes and his brain as the im­pulse moves him––which, luckily, is in a direction of felicity: one that is strikingly congruent with present-day art as a whole, and particularly so with a trend in the Bay Region too diverse to be called a school (thank God for that) and yet plainly recognizable by its

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