An Unintentional Photographer, 1968-1970
Mirrored Rooms and Chain-link Fences
by Lawrence G. Desmond
This book came about because when I was selecting photos for my previously published photo Blurb photo book, "Growing up in California, 1947-1959," I discovered I had taken ten times more photos during the years 1968 to 1970 than in the previous 20 years, so I divided the photos into two groups.
The other aspect of my photography I realized was that until 1968 I received no formal training in photography. But, I do remember being drawn to the photos of Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Steichen, Danny Lyon, Pirkle Jones, Dorothea Lange, and Alfred Stieglitz. So, during those years, by observation and trial-and-error, I slowly improved my camera and darkroom work.
Around 1969 I noticed advertisements for photo workshops offered by Ansel Adams and Pirkle Jones, and thought the workshops would be a way to improve my skills. And, while I can’t hold Adams responsible for my landscape photography, his influence can be seen in a few of my photos of San Francisco, the California High Sierra, and the Southwest.
From the beginning, photographing people came naturally to me, so Jones helped me to build on that innate ability. His workshops inspired me to photograph the 1969 anti-Vietnam War march in San Francisco, and I’ve included a few photos of the march from my Blurb photo book, San Francisco Peace March--Vietnam War Moratorium, November 15, 1969.
The photos in this book were taken between 1968 and 1970, and are grouped into four Parts: 1) Cityscapes and other Elements- San Francisco; 2) People- San Francisco, Sausalito and south to Ladera, and Cholula, Mexico; 3) Natural Abstracts, Landscapes, Flora and a Frog- The Far West; and 4) Outside and Inside the Universidad de las Americas- Cholula, Mexico.
Lawrence G. Desmond received a PhD in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Colorado, Boulder; an MA in anthropology from the Universidad de las Americas in Cholula, Mexico, and carried-out archaeological research in Mexico and Guatemala for more than 40 years. He taught at the University of Minnesota and San Francisco State University. His books, "A Dream of Maya" and "Yucatán through her eyes," are about the photography and studies of the ancient Maya by Alice and Augustus Le Plongeon who worked in Yucatán in the 1870s. His photographs of Mexico and Guatemala are at Harvard University's Peabody Museum, photographs of the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MMARP) are at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, and his earliest photos are at the Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley. He is a senior research fellow in archaeology with the MMARP at Harvard University, and a research associate with the Dept. of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences.
The John Muir Trail. Florence Lake to Cedar Grove - 1962 Published June 29, 2015
A Catalog of the 19th Century Photographs of Alice Dixon and Augustus Le Plongeon Published April 14, 2015
Scholars in Dark Glasses- Photos of MMARP Symposia, 1982 to 1994 Published November 16, 2014
Growing up in California, 1947-1959 Published June 04, 2014
Mexico- Landscape and Architecture Published March 16, 2014
MEXICO - As it was. Photographs of Life in the 1970s. Published January 03, 2014
Santo Tomás Jalieza Oaxaca, Mexico 1973 Published November 30, 2013
Tepetzintla, Sierra Norte de Puebla, Mexico 1972 Published August 29, 2013