Loi Song, Featured Speaker, May 2004 Meeting

My name is Loi Song ,I live in San Marcos, California, and I am a photographer producing mostly traditional black and white landscape prints. As a result of my association with traditional West Coast photography, that pioneered by Edward Weston, dramatized by Ansel Adams, matured by Morley Baer, and extended by John Sexton, I work with the materials best suited to present my images.

Following my apprenticeship with Morley Baer in 1994, I am of the minimalist school of photography when it comes to equipment and materials. Just as Morley used the same camera and tripod for over sixty years I restrict myself for all my art work to an 8x10 view camera made by Zone VI and a single 360mm lens by Rodenstock, just slightly longer than normal for this camera. I do not expect to change anytime soon. Although most of my work is contact printed from the negative, yielding maximum image depth and sharpness, I occasionally enlarge to 16x20 - a factor of 2 enlargement. I like Kodak products and generally use their T-Max 100 film, Polymax fine art paper and Dektol developer. Occasionally I use Ilford HP5 and FP4+ film. T-max RS film developer is my favorite, using the JOBO CPP2 processor.

Photographing since 1992, my personal work has been in black and white. Besides my mentor Morley Baer, who instilled in me the virtues of simplicity and form in a photograph, I have been most influenced by two inspirational West Coast photographers and teachers: John Sexton and Ruth Bernhard. They have taught me about the magic of light, shadow, and a full tonal scale and have very much affected how I go about making a photograph.

I was very lucky to have been an apprentice photographer working for Morley Baer from 1993 to 1995 to assisting him in the field, in his darkroom, and on his photography workshops and lectures. After Morley's passing, I served as a full-time assistant for John Sexton from 1995 to present. In this role I added to the lore of photography I learned from Morley, the vast amount of photographic insight and technique that only John has. I increased my sensitivity to silvery image tones as exemplified by Ruth's work and have incorporated as much of her insight as I can into my approach to printing. Both of them have taught me about the California lifestyle and what it takes to be truly a traditional art photographer in this modern age of digital imagery and computer assisted printing.

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