Where It All Began: Limekiln Creek by Robert Glenn Ketchum
In 1967, I discovered Limekiln Creek on the Big Sur Coast in California. Among those redwoods, I had an epiphany as a young artist. As a photographer, most of the skills I would use, I would learn there. Many years later in a mature career, I helped the American Land Conservancy acquire this property for the California State Park system. This is the story of a very personal place.
Monday, October 31, 2016
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #44: This is a preface to this blog and the last post. In discovering AND then returning to Limekiln, I was inspired to change the direction of my work, and to greatly improve the quality of my photography - these decisions affected my life. Simultaneously I also had other important influences. My parents began leasing a house in Sun Valley (ID), from which some of my earliest published images were created ( SEE MY BLOG about the Decker Flats Climbing & Frisbee Club ). Then in transit to Sun Valley for a visit, as with Limekiln, I randomly discovered an amazing place in the desert that became to body of work, STONED IMMACULATE, a new blog that will begin next week in this spot. The above image is Paul Caponigro's "Apple, New York" 1964, or so it was titled when first published in Aperture magazine. At UCLA, a Robert Heinecken assignment had each of us choose a photographer "outside" of "our genre" and prepare a report/lecture with slides for a class presentation. Although I was "leaning" toward an interest in landscape, I still thought it less exciting than my experimental, hand-colored work, and Caponigro's work, which lacked the drama of Ansel Adams, seemed especially "quiet." I chose him because I viewed him boring and thought I would make that my lecture point, BUT the more I studied his images, the more I grew to understand what he saw. Then there was the final image, the endpiece of the publication. When presenting to the class, I said this was a great final image because it suggested he was doing "newer, more experimental work," and Heinecken asked, "How's that?" I responded that most his other images were landscapes, but this one of the night sky seemed more adventurous. Uniformly the class mumbled oddly, and then my friend, Bob Jenkins, spoke up and said, "What are you smoking, man? THAT is an apple." Having NOT read the image title, I missed that detail, but once he said it, I could see it. In fact, I could still see BOTH. This duality of being a "straight" photograph AND ALSO of "another world entirely" would become a subtext of my work for the rest of my life. In telling that story to workshop students once, I did not notice that Caponigro had come into the back of the classroom. After speaking, I took questions, and the last hand up was his. When he rose, I knew him, so I introduced him to the class. Paul said he was glad to hear that story and know the image affected me in that way, AND then he said I should tell Heinecken that "it WAS the night sky." He has since changed the title of this image to "Galaxy Apple."
photograph(s) © copyright, JOHN PAUL CAPONIGRO, 2016, @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)_______________________________________________________