For the past 60 years, John Dersham has traveled the United States extensively in search of those timeless, beautiful settings that often go overlooked. His lifelong passion for black and white fine art photography began innocently enough when his father passed down his Kodak Brownie he received from an Eastman Kodak promotion in 1930 and after a long and distinguished background in photography and management, his passion continues today.
His exhibit “Changing Moods…Sixty Years in Black and White” is currently on display at the Jacksonville State University Canyon Center at Little River Canyon National Preserve in Fort Payne, Ala., and he is currently on a speaking tour by the same title showing his work to organizations and photography clubs across the Southeast.
Dersham’s love for photography began in 1960 while using a Kodak Brownie. His parents quickly noticed his passion for photography and upgraded his equipment with a professional large format camera, a small darkroom with enlarger and a film developing tank. While in junior high school, Dersham joined the Mid Missouri Camera Club, whose members were made up of professors of photography from the famed photography and photojournalism school at the University of Missouri, and was mentored by noted photographers such as Roger Berg and Andy Tau who was at one time an active member in Ansel Adams F-64 Club. Dersham went on to study photography at Truman University and the University of Missouri where he also maintained an on-campus photo studio. He completed his university studies in 1972.
Soon after his university studies, Dersham entered into a profession at Eastman Kodak that would span 27 years. “During my Kodak years, I held nine management positions in four cities covering the northeast, southeast, and Midwest,” said Dersham. “During my travels by car or air, I took my equipment, even the large format equipment. I would get up pre-daylight and shoot till my first appointment, or I’d shoot late afternoon or night shots. I always found a way to shoot and I was out to perpetuate my fine art photography and nothing seemed to stop me.” In fact, midway through his career John received his Masters of Photography through special studies at Kodak and his work was used to decorate Kodak office buildings, factories and photo finishing plants nationwide.
About the Art:
Dersham’s work is all done in his darkroom and is produced to meet the highest archival standards. He uses double weight silver rich fiber based enlarging papers then uses toning and other preservation techniques that provide the finest detail and tonality with the longest possible longevity. “I print each negative until I have the best print I think I can make. If not, it goes in the recycle bin. In doing this I use the very best archival quality materials on the market, including processing standards that are known to produce the highest level of permanence. I put 100% into this work and cut no corners. I figured I have spent a lifetime producing this work so I might as well take the extra time and cost to do it to last for future generations to enjoy,” said Dersham.
John Dersham Photography specializes in rural, large cities, small towns, and wilderness with a majority of his work in black and white. Today, his photographs can be enjoyed as fine art. “Black and white photography lends itself to portraying moods. It has always been important in my work to create an image that is as special as the scene itself,” added Dersham. “The primary elements that contribute to making a particular image stand apart from others are the contributing elements to the scene, such as a special angle of light, rain, fog, mist, big beautiful clouds, dark rich blue sky, snow, ice, and most importantly, a well thought out composition and good technical discipline.”
To inquire about his works, gallery exhibits, speaking engagements, and photography workshops, please call John directly at (256) 845-3957. Should you prefer, you may email John here.
*storyline compliments of Huntsville Art Blog
In his latest book, John Dersham uses the language of photography to reveal his passion for black-and-white large-format imagery and the visual feast of everyday life.