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Thread: Don Normark

  1. #1
    hortense's Avatar
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    Don Normark

    Previously unknown to me, this photographer is a true discovery. Take a look at the latest issue of "Lenswork", No. 58, June 2005, pp. 61-83. This is a truly remarkable photographer. Condsider that his images of Chavez Ravine were made starting in 1946 and completed a couple of years later. His ability to come close to capturing the "souls" of the people he photographed and their surroundings is truly marvelous. And, his craftmanship at age 18 is astounding! An insight into his personality can be had by reading Brooks Jensen's interview - and, I would have to say that this humble unobtrusive photographer's awareness is amazing. I fully intend to make his aquaintance if he is still somewhere in the Southern California area.

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    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    He's here in Seattle. Round trip airfare from So Cal. is in the $200 range I think

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    Don's been a friend of mine since 1964 when I met him through Minor White. I worked for him printing his negatives when he worked as a freelancer for Sunset Magazine (he had more photographs published in the magazine than any other photographer in its history). Later, I shot for the magazine too, and when the magazine was unfortunately sold to Time Warner in '90 or '91, it signaled the end of all of our careers. Don, having looked forward to being able to continue to sell images to the magazine, realized that his retirement fund had been essentially erased. In the transition, the magazine had converted to color only, and is now just like every other junk rag in America. The editorial used to only be bw, the ads in color. Now you can't tell the difference. His vast files became worthless. So, he went back into his early work when he was a student at Art Center in Pasadena looking for stuff to print. He went back to LA, walked up the same path, and found Dodger Stadium. Perhaps you've heard the Ry Cooder CD or seen the PBS special on Chavez Ravine. This all came through Don's work from his files.

    Don just turned 80. He is about the most charming and irresistible guy in the world, and is blessed with literally hundreds, if not thousands, of friends. A lot of them showed up at his party. A real crowd. I, and many others, just love that man.

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    Glad to read an update on Don. I first became aware of his personal work in 1970 when we were asked to exhibit at the original Friends of Photography Gallery in Carmel. It was a three man show including Ed Putzar.

    A few years later I started doing freelance work for Sunset Magazine and saw Don's photography in every issue. As you note, it was quite a different magazine back then when Proctor Melquist was editor.

    I hope Don is doing well.

    Merg Ross

    http://mergross.com



 

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