William Mortensen (1897-1965):

Being a phenomenal photographer is only half the story, his work was so far ahead of it’s time, (I personally am quite fond of his desert images). Through the 30’s and 40’s he was photographer to the stars, using soft focus and his unique darkroom techniques to produce amazing images. Sometimes whimsical and often bizarre, he drew the ire of the purists of his day, the mighty Ansel Adams who had formed the f/64 group and Nancy Newhall spearheaded a campaign to shut Mortensen out of artistic circles and used their influence to keep his work from being shown. Mortensen opened a studio in Laguna Beach, wrote essays and taught photography in his later years and though never openly admitted it, he died a broken man. Even after his death, Adams tried to prevent Mortensen’s work from being archived at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. Sadly much of his work has been lost, most of his negatives are missing, few notes and letters were left behind, strongly suggesting that in the end he felt so irrelevant to the history of photography he didn’t bother leaving anything behind.

He is my inspiration, imagine having the most influential and powerful people in your field do everything in their power to crush you? And he never caved, Mortensen kept on creating HIS images and I bet we all sometimes feel as he must have.

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