Henry Wessel

American (Teaneck, New Jersey, 1942)

Santa Barbara, California

1977
photograph | gelatin silver print
Not on view at this time; find out where you can see works from our collection at locations around the Bay Area while our building is closed for expansion
  • Santa Barbara, California

    Henry Wessel, Santa Barbara, California, 1977; gelatin silver print, 16 in. x 19 3/4 in. (40.64 cm x 50.17 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. William R. Fielder; © Henry Wessel


Wessel once said of his work, "I am delighted when a photograph is muscular and at the same time beautiful." This powerfully elegant arrangement of horizontals and cast shadows certainly meets his criteria.

Unposed, the photograph is the result of Wessel's direct approach to the medium: he goes out to shoot without a preconceived plan and lets his eye serve as his guide. There is something magical about this spontaneous scene — the angled light of a Southern California morning, the flock of birds frozen in mid-flight, the ordinary man observing it all. Although it appears to suggest a larger narrative, it is merely a moment captured on film.


16 in. x 19 3/4 in. (40.64 cm x 50.17 cm)
Acquired 1985
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. William R. Fielder
© Henry Wessel
85.811

Tags

Santa Barbara, California, trees, grass, men, back views, pigeons, birds, flocks, flying, sidewalks, buildings


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