Monday, July 18, 2011

The man who started the "Gatherings"

A friend past away yesterday.

Per Volquartz was a west coast photographer that held some of the great landscape gatherings of the past years. Any time I've held a gathering at my own studio, it was because I stole the idea from Per.

We first met at Zion Park in Utah. It was a gathering of photographers and kindred spirits where the landscapes would come up and bite you. For those of you that were there... do you remember when the red light hit the mountains just while we were sitting down to dinner. The light brought the rocks alive. We didn't run for our gear, just sat at the campsite and enjoyed the view.

Per was there when I hauled my 8x10 up the trail and took one of my best selling landscapes of an old tree hanging onto the side of a canyon. The next day I shot one of my favorite images of backlit cottonwoods in Zion.

We were both career photographers and had a great time comparing notes of our adventures.

I remember seeing him walk along the dusty road in a ghost town in Arizona with a Leica in his hand. I thought it might be the ghost of Ansel Adams walking there that day.

In Vancouver, we gathered at the Totem Poles for a study in pre-flashing film to keep the contrast under control. We stayed after the others had headed for food and did a couple portraits with the big gear.

In Lone Pine, or was it Big Pine, we laughed by the campfire and complained about the coffee, then shot the sunrise on Mount Whitney the next morning. About 20 photographers standing by their 8x10's waiting for the sun to break over the peak.

When we went to Bodie it was my first time there and I ran around like a fool shooting everything in site. He waited for the light to be right on a crack in the wall he'd been watching for a couple years already. Maybe it would be just right this time around. I took my second best selling photo that day.

Per was more than a photographer. He brought people together to talk and live photography. He realized something that is missed by many people these days.... that photography is social, and friendships last after we're gone, and sometimes you have to wait for the light to be right, but maybe shoot one frame anyways just in case it all goes south.

I miss him already.

Rob Skeoch
My retail store for traditional photo supplies is

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