Denver Art Museum

Denver, CO



Colorado Masters of Photography


The lives and careers of four photographers who made Colorado their home for decades are celebrated in an exhibition, "Colorado Masters of Photography," through September 10, 2000 at the Denver Art Museum. Included in the exhibition are, Hal Gould of Denver, Mary Alice Johnston of Crestone, as well as the late Ferenc Berko of Aspen and Myron Wood who lived in Colorado Springs.

Like many artists who choose to live far from the population centers of the Northeast and the West Coast, these outstanding photographers often worked in isolation and found themselves under-recognized.

Ferenc Berko was born in Hungary in 1916. Largely self-taught, he met many leading Bauhaus artists who helped him develop a keen eye for geometric composition. By the age of 22, Berko was earning a living as a photographer. While in Chicago teaching at the Institute of Design (the American successor to the Bauhaus), Berko met industrialist Waiter Paepcke, who in 1949 invited him to move to Aspen and photograph the cultural festivals and conferences the Paepckes were initiating there. He has lived in Aspen ever since. Berko's unerring sense of composition carried him from black and white to color photography, and he was one of the earliest artists to discover the formal photographic relationships of a world in color. A book of Berko's classic nude studies, Berko: Photographs 1935-71, was published in 1999 by Graphis, Inc. He passed away in March of this year.

Hal Gould is a documentary photographer of Colorado personalities and scenes. The sharp light of Colorado is as tangible a subject in his pictures as the worn cowboy boots and dusty windows whose textures Gould loves. For more than two decades, Gould has operated Camera Obscura, a photography gallery in Denver. Presenting both established and emerging photographers from Colorado and around the world, Camera Obscura is a regular gathering place for photographers and lovers of the medium. (left: Hal Gould (b. 1920), Fishermen Ashore, Mazatlan, Mexico, 1960, photograph, Courtesy of Camera Obscura Gallery, Denver, CO)

Michigan-born Mary Alice Johnston arrived in Paris, France with her husband in 1950. They intended to stay a year, but remained until 1958. Throughout their visit (and on many trips since) she took photographs of the places and people of Paris. Inspired by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Johnston forges a powerful intimacy with the subjects of her photographs, whether they are sleepy travelers dozing at a metro stop or the elegant Parisienne who has just stepped out in a silk robe to buy her morning baguette.

Myron Wood, a native of Oklahoma, trained to be a concert pianist, but turned to photography after meeting photographers Edward Weston and Roy Stryker in the 1940s. A documentarian of Southwestern life and landscape, Wood captured on film the Native Americans of Taos Pueblo, the Penitente Brotherhood of southern New Mexico, scenes of ranch and small town life, and even the homes and studio of Georgia O'Keeffe, whom he photographed from 1979 until 1981. (left: Myron Wood, Grain Elevator and Fog, 1973, photograph, Courtesy of Denver Art Museum)

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Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/2/11

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