Insisting on Quality

Episode #201: Weekend Wisdom with Skip Cohen, interview with John Sexton (44 minutes)

Discussion Topics

  1. Ensuring Quality
  2. black & white
  3. being selective
  4. film & darkrooms

John Sexton

World-Renowned Award-Winning Nature Photographer

John Sexton was born in 1953, and is known worldwide as a photographer, master print maker, workshop instructor, and lecturer. He is the author of four award-winning books; Quiet Light, Listen to the Trees, Places of Power, and Recollections. Sexton is best known for his luminous hand crafted traditional silver gelatin black and white photographs of the natural environment.

He is director of the John Sexton Photography Workshops, and has conducted hundreds of photography workshops throughout the United States and abroad. Sexton served as Photographic Assistant and Technical Consultant to legendary photographer Ansel Adams from 1979 to 1984. In addition, John has served as a consultant to major photographic manufacturers including Kodak. His finely crafted large format photographs have appeared in numerous exhibitions and publications, and are included in permanent collections and exhibitions throughout the world.

Sexton has received numerous awards and honors during his forty-year photographic career. In 2005 Sexton was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Nature Photography Association, and in 2014 he received the prestigious International Award from the American Society of Photographers, as well as being a recipient of the inaugural George Eastman Award in Beijing, China.

John still finds magic in exposing and processing film, and making silver gelatin prints, by hand, in his traditional darkroom at his studio in Carmel Valley, California.

Summary of Discussion Topics:

  • Always push yourself – not every picture will be perfect.
  • The importance of maintaining print quality.
  • Taking black and white portraits so you can actually see colour.
  • Maintaining control of your printing process.
  • Being proud to put your name on an image print.
  • How to ensure the best quality for your work.
  • You have to be selective with your work.
  • Timeframe and benchmarks for creating photography books.
  • Being selective in your portraits can be a challenging emotional experience for an artist.
  • Understanding what it’s like shooting with film and printing your own work in a digital age.

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