Todd Walker (photographer)

Last updated

Todd Walker (1917 – September 13, 1998) was an American photographer, printmaker and creator of artists' books who is known for his manipulated images and for his use of offset lithography to produce individual prints and limited-edition books of his work.

Contents

Early life

Walker was born in Utah and grew up in Los Angeles. His father died when he was 14, and he struggled to find a place to belong in life. [1] As a teenager he earned money painting backdrops on movie sets, and he learned to study tonalities when called upon to paint the faux finish on the fireplace in the movie Citizen Kane so it would render properly in black-and-white. [2] He also used this time to learn about color mixing by combining leftover paints at the end of the day to create new hues.

Early photographic career

Walker began to learn photography some time in the late 1930s, and after World War II he established a commercial photography studio in Los Angeles. Through most of the 1950s he was in high demand for his creative advertising work that featured striking visual images and intense colors. [2] During this time he began creating a series of highly distinctive nudes that used the Sabattier effect to meld form and surface together. [2] He also spent much time studying the traditional collotype printing process, and he was the most prominent of a new breed of photographers who helped revive the popularity of this process.

Thumbprint Press

In 1964 his wife gave him a small offset press, and he began to create and publish small editions of books using photolithography to reproduce his own works. He set up his own printing house, the Thumbprint Press, at a time when there was no desktop publishing. His involvement led him to explore the chemistry and mechanics of the offset process in detail, and he experimented at length by doing such things as changing the patterns of the printing dots and overprinting images with multiple colors to achieve extraordinary saturation. He was known to have used as many as 35 colors on one image in a medium that traditionally used a standard set of only four colors. [2]

Teaching career and colleagues

Walker began teaching at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in 1966. His interest in creative photographic processes brought him to the attention of Robert Heinecken and Robert W. Fichter at UCLA, and the three co-taught classes for a brief time. In 1970 Walker accepted a one-year teaching position at the University of Florida. There he worked with photographers Jerry Uelsmann and Douglas Prince as well as printmaker Ken Kerslake, who was at that time using photo-etching techniques in intaglio printmaking. Walker taught a photo-printmaking class and a silkscreen class. In an interview in the late 1970s Walker said, "The contact with the ideas of the printmaker have greatly altered my attitudes toward photography, and how each discipline deals with an image." [3] Seven years later he moved to Tucson and taught at the University of Arizona before retiring in 1985.

Late digital work

While in Arizona, Walker began working with some of the first Apple computers, and he used his technical skills to create some early 3-D images of his work and to create a book in which the text was mostly generated by the computer (Enthusiasm Strengthens, 1987). According to his daughter, Walker never used Photoshop or other commercial imaging software. He wrote his own computer programs and later made use of software primarily designed for cartography. With these techniques he was able to create digital works that blurred, inverted and obscured the original image, making it into an expressive rather than detailed representation of reality. [4]

Walker died of cancer in 1998.

Publications

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lithography</span> Printing technique

Lithography is a planographic method of printing originally based on the immiscibility of oil and water. The printing is from a stone or a metal plate with a smooth surface. It was invented in 1796 by the German author and actor Alois Senefelder and was initially used mostly for musical scores and maps. Lithography can be used to print text or images onto paper or other suitable material. A lithograph is something printed by lithography, but this term is only used for fine art prints and some other, mostly older, types of printed matter, not for those made by modern commercial lithography.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Photomontage</span> Composite image created from two or more photographs

Photomontage is the process and the result of making a composite photograph by cutting, gluing, rearranging and overlapping two or more photographs into a new image. Sometimes the resulting composite image is photographed so that the final image may appear as a seamless physical print. A similar method, although one that does not use film, is realized today through image-editing software. This latter technique is referred to by professionals as "compositing", and in casual usage is often called "photoshopping". A composite of related photographs to extend a view of a single scene or subject would not be labeled as a montage, but instead a stitched image or a digital image mosaic.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Printmaking</span> Process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper

Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper, but also on fabric, wood, metal, and other surfaces. "Traditional printmaking" normally covers only the process of creating prints using a hand processed technique, rather than a photographic reproduction of a visual artwork which would be printed using an electronic machine ; however, there is some cross-over between traditional and digital printmaking, including risograph.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Monochrome</span> Composed of one color

A monochrome or monochromatic image, object or palette is composed of one color. Images using only shades of grey are called grayscale or black-and-white. In physics, monochromatic light refers to electromagnetic radiation that contains a narrow band of wavelengths, which is a distinct concept.

Graphics are visual images or designs on some surface, such as a wall, canvas, screen, paper, or stone, to inform, illustrate, or entertain. In contemporary usage, it includes a pictorial representation of data, as in design and manufacture, in typesetting and the graphic arts, and in educational and recreational software. Images that are generated by a computer are called computer graphics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Darkroom</span> Room which can be made fully dark to allow for development of photographs and film

A darkroom is used to process photographic film, make prints and carry out other associated tasks. It is a room that can be made completely dark to allow the processing of light-sensitive photographic materials, including film and photographic paper. Various equipment is used in the darkroom, including an enlarger, baths containing chemicals, and running water.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Giclée</span> Fine art ink jet prints produced from digital files or artwork.

Giclée is a neologism, ultimately derived from the French word gicleur, coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made using inkjet printers. The name was originally applied to fine art prints created on a modified Iris printer in a process invented in the late 1980s. It has since been used widely to mean any fine-art printing, usually archival, printed by inkjet. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops for their high quality printing, but is also used generically for art printing of any quality.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Digital printing</span> Method of printing

Digital printing is a method of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Duotone</span> Superimposition of one contrasting colour halftone over another color halftone

Duotone is a halftone reproduction of an image using the superimposition of one contrasting color halftone over another color halftone. This is most often used to bring out middle tones and highlights of an image. Traditionally the superimposed contrasting halftone color is black and the most commonly implemented colors are blue, yellow, brown, and red, however there are many varieties of color combinations used.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intaglio (printmaking)</span> Family of printing and printmaking techniques

Intaglio is the family of printing and printmaking techniques in which the image is incised into a surface and the incised line or sunken area holds the ink. It is the direct opposite of a relief print where the parts of the matrix that make the image stand above the main surface.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grahame King</span> Australian artist

Grahame Edwin King was a master Australian printmaker, who has been called the "patron saint of contemporary Australian printmaking". He was responsible for the revival of print making in Australia in the 1960s. He helped set up the Print Council of Australia, of which he was the first Honorary Secretary and was later President. He taught printmaking at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) from 1966 to 1988. In 1991, he was awarded an Order of Australia for his services to education. As well as teaching, King produced his own art work, concentrating on lithographs and monotypes. He was also a skilled photographer and used his photography both in his teaching and in his practice.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vitreography</span> Glass art printmaking technique

Vitreography is a fine art printmaking technique that uses a 38-inch-thick (9.5 mm) float glass matrix instead of the traditional matrices of metal, wood or stone. A print created using the technique is called a vitreograph. Unlike a monotype, in which ink is painted onto a smooth glass plate and transferred to paper to produce a unique work, the vitreograph technique involves fixing the imagery in, or on, the glass plate. This allows the production of an edition of prints.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sonya Noskowiak</span>

Sonya Noskowiak was a 20th-century German-American photographer and member of the San Francisco photography collective Group f/64 that included Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. She is considered an important figure in one of the great photographic movements of the twentieth century. Throughout her career, Noskowiak photographed landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. Her most well-known, though unacknowledged, portraits are of the author John Steinbeck. In 1936, Noskowiak was awarded a prize at the annual exhibition of the San Francisco Society of Women Artists. She was also represented in the San Francisco Museum of Art’s “Scenes from San Francisco” exhibit in 1939. Ten years before her death, Noskowiak's work was included in a WPA exhibition at the Oakland Museum in Oakland, California.

Ken Kerslake (1930–2007) was a printmaker and professor credited with being "one of a handful of printmaker-educators responsible for the growth of printmaking in the southeast in the years following World War II." Kerslake taught at the University of Florida in Gainesville, which gave him the title of Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus after his retirement.

Jon Cone is a collaborative printmaker, pioneer and developer of photographic ink jet technologies, educator, and photographer. Cone is best known for the founding of the world's first digital printmaking studio, Cone Editions Press and developer of quad-black ink jet systems for printing fine black-and-white photographs including the first commercially available method of producing fine art black-and-white prints in the digital darkroom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Visual arts</span> Art forms that create works that are primarily visual in nature

The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts, and architecture. Many artistic disciplines, such as performing arts, conceptual art, and textile arts, also involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts, such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design, and decorative art.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abstract photography</span> Photography genre

Abstract photography, sometimes called non-objective, experimental or conceptual photography, is a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and that has been created through the use of photographic equipment, processes or materials. An abstract photograph may isolate a fragment of a natural scene in order to remove its inherent context from the viewer, it may be purposely staged to create a seemingly unreal appearance from real objects, or it may involve the use of color, light, shadow, texture, shape and/or form to convey a feeling, sensation or impression. The image may be produced using traditional photographic equipment like a camera, darkroom or computer, or it may be created without using a camera by directly manipulating film, paper or other photographic media, including digital presentations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anthony Velonis</span> American painter

Anthony Velonis was an American painter and designer born in New York City who helped introduce the public to silkscreen printing in the early 20th century. He married Elizabeth Amidon, with whom he had four children.

Holly Roberts is an American visual artist known best for her combination of photography and paint. “Holly Roberts caused a stir in the fine art photography world of the eighties by fusing painting and photography, painting directly onto photographs”. Roberts lives and works in Corrales, New Mexico. Her work is in the permanent collection of several museums in the United States.

Dick Arentz is an American fine art photographer and author, known for his textbook on platinum-palladium printing. Arentz's text book, Platinum & Palladium Printing, Focal Press. 1st edition (1999), 2nd edition (2004) “is known in online forums and industry magazines as the most comprehensive book on the subject.” Other photography insiders such as Dr. Michael J. Ware and Bill Jay have commended the author as a master-craftsman in platinum-palladium printing. Arentz has mentored other photographers in the platinum-palladium printing process by conducting more than 40 workshops for organizations such as The Center for Creative Photography, The Friends of Photography and The Museum of Photographic Arts. His work was displayed at over fifty one-man exhibits in museums and private galleries in the US and Europe.

References

  1. William S. Johnson. "Todd Walker, 1917-1998 – photographer - Obituary". Archived from the original on September 20, 2008. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Solomon, Nancy (2002). 'Todd Walker', in Original Sources: Art and Archives at the Center for Creative Photography. Tucson: Center for Creative Photography. pp. 227–228.
  3. Morrisey, Thomas F., "An Interview with Todd Walker", c. 1978. http://personal.riverusers.com/~jdf/todd_walker/intvw.html Accessed 6/30/09
  4. Jody Zellen. "Todd Walker" . Retrieved February 13, 2009.[ dead link ]