Bob Kolbrener's passion for fine art black and white analogue photography
began in 1968 when he innocently wandered into Yosemite National Park and the
Best Studio, home to Ansel Adams. Having been an amateur photographer for five
years prior to this time, Kolbrener was overwhelmed with the magnificence of the
prints and the grand proportions of the images hanging before him. The following
year, he enrolled in Adams' workshop and continued to hone his skills over the
next eight years. In 1977, Ansel Adams invited Kolbrener to be an instructor
with Yousuf Karsh at Adams' Yosemite workshop.
Kolbrener states: "When I think about Ansel Adams and all that he
represented, I think of the word BIG. From his physical stature and presence to
his imagery, to his very large prints, the Ansel Adams greatness, for me, was
always larger than life!?
Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1942, Kolbrener started out,
after college, in the retail clothing business. In 1964, he began photographing
as a hobby. After studying with Adams for eight years, he became a teaching
assistant for the ?Master?, working alongside the well-known portraitist Yousuf
Karsh. By this time, Kolbrener had begun his ongoing commercial photography
business in St. Louis. In 1993, Bob Kolbrener was honored with a major museum
exhibition at the venerable St. Louis Art Museum. Six years ago, Kolbrener and
his wife and model, Sharon, moved to the American West.
"Kolbrener feels that chance favors the prepared mind. Traveling
throughout the Great American West, his ongoing series of epic, landscape
photographs exemplifies the way he feels about his photography: celebration! The
photographer says that a photograph without emotion is pointless, but too much
emotion can be a detriment to clear vision. His images are the result of the
balance between aesthetic decision-making and technical expertise, when he is
confronted with the exciting, ephemeral events of nature. What is unusual about
his photography is that this work calls for the reader to see an unusual
sign?and then respond to it.
More than thirty years ago he made a commitment to continue in the Ansel
Adams tradition of "straight" photography. He never wavered from this. All of
his photographs are made in the Great American West using medium and large
format 8x10 cameras. He says that he prints "the old fashioned way" using fiber
based paper, tray processing and selenium toner. His goal has always been, and
continues to be, to produce prints which truly celebrate those most exciting,
ephemeral events of nature!"