Henry Wessel
Santa Barbara, California, 1977

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.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Santa Barbara, California
Artist name
Henry Wessel
Date created
gelatin silver print
16 in. × 19 3/4 in. (40.64 cm × 50.17 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. William R. Fielder
© Estate of Henry Wessel
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Henry Wessel

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