Black and White Landscape Photography by Tony Hertz
About - Statement, Brief Bio and Career Narrative
My intention is to photograph what is felt and not often seen. I make images instinctively. I enjoy capturing moments that evoke mystery, mood and beauty and sharing them with you.
I appreciate black and white's simplicity of form and light. The challenge and discovery in making simple compositional elements in black and white (and color) deepen my personal meanings to nature.
I now use a 4X5 / 8X10 aspect ratio when composing my work. I feel this facet lends to a more fluid balance and increases compositional opportunities when arranging vertical and horizontal scenes.
Fine art prints of Tony Hertz's work have been exhibited with Yosemite Renaissance; Photokina; Espace Dupon, Paris, France; Bratislava, Slovakia; Worldwide Art Los Angeles; von Liebig Art Center, Naples, Fl; Carnegie Arts Center; Liverpool One Gallery and Somerset House, London, UK; San Diego Natural History Museum; East End Arts' National Show, Long Island, NY and the Farmani Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.
He's been recognized with top awards for his landscape photographs in the Sony World Photography Awards, International Photography Awards, PX3 (France), Camera USA, Black and White Spider and many more. His work has been published widely, including Outdoor Photographer Magazine, Photographer’s Forum, Silvershotz and Black and White Magazines.
Tony has over 35 years of professional photography experience with 10 years of it as a daily newspaper photographer. He's photographed U.S. Presidents, the Queen of England, Pope Paul, celebrities, musicians, famous sports figures and covered major news and community events.
While working as a photojournalist it helped refine his compositional instincts. Then he turned to focus mainly on landscape and nature subjects for personal and fine art photography work.
Major magazines and newspapers his general photography work has been published in: Time Magazine, Los Angeles Times, New York Times Magazine, USA Today, National Geographic WORLD, Sunset Magazine, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and the Christian Science Monitor.
He's also worked with major industrial and advertising clients ranging from the Cotton Board and Zenith Watches.
Tony divides his time shooting in the field, editing images and working as an adjunct photography instructor teaching traditional darkroom photography and digital photography in the Cuesta College Fine Arts Department in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Career Narrative/Tony Hertz
My photography career is a story beginning in my early childhood with a box camera as my first camera, then emerging in college, to decades of photojournalism practice and teaching and a culmination in fine art landscape photography.
During my formative years I was drawn to LIFE Magazine and any other book containing photographs. I am grateful and appreciative of the medium that has supported me during my 38 years of professionally shooting photographs. I also was very fortunate to have a mentor from LIFE Magazine.
I explored deeper into the world of photography in 1971 when I enrolled in a photography class at San Bernardino Valley College (Calif). I knew I was hooked when I quickly became the instructor’s assistant and began living and breathing photography. My desire was to attend the San Francisco Art Institute but without the financial and emotional support of my family I was not able to follow that path.
I turned to other photographers work and found the inspiration I needed. I was especially attracted to the works of Edward Weston, Imogene Cunningham, Minor White and Wynn Bullock.
After earning a Liberal Arts Degree in 1972 at Valley College, I continued teaching myself photography. I worked as a newspaper truck delivery person and it gave me access to closely watch and learn composition and technique of the newspaper photographers.
I needed financial support to continue my photography journey and I was awarded an Educational Opportunity Program Grant to attend the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. I majored in Journalism with a concentration in Photojournalism and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in June, 1977. That same year, I was awarded “Photojournalist of the Year” by the Journalism department.
During my time at Cal Poly I served as the photography editor for the student newspaper the Mustang Daily. I gained skills in editing images and communicating with editors and photographers on story ideas. During my tenure, the newspaper was named the best college daily newspaper in the state by the California Intercollegiate Press Association. It was during this editorship that I connected with instructor and veteran journalist James Hayes who became a trusted life-long friend and mentor until his recent passing.
After graduating I worked as a full-time staff photographer at the San Luis Obispo daily regional newspaper The Tribune. During my 10-year period at the newspaper (1977-1988) I won many top awards from the National Press Photographer’s Association along with awards from the California Press Photographer’s Association and the Associated Press News Executive Council for California and Nevada.
In the mid-1980s, I served as vice-president for the California Press Photographer’s Association for two years. Part of the duties included coordinating the annual Gold Seal News Photography Contest and helping to organize the yearly convention.
Shooting news, features and sports for The Tribune allowed me to refine my compositional instincts and technically hone my photography skills. More importantly, it brought me into many situations and experiences with interesting people and events that shaped me professionally and personally.
I was fortunate to have opportunities of a lifetime at the newspaper. I photographed U.S. presidents, the Queen of England, Pope Paul, numerous celebrities, musicians, famous sports figures in addition to covering major news and community events.
I left the newspaper in 1988 for new challenges and pursued photography as an independent photographer. I continued to work the connections I had made from the newspaper and built freelance relationships with many major newspapers and magazines such as Time Magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Christian Science Monitor, Sunset Magazine and National Geographic WORLD Magazine.
In addition, I continue to work for a variety of large industrial, agricultural and corporate clients including Chevron USA, Dupont, BASF, The Gas Company, FMC, Clark Construction, and Edison Company along with many regional clients in hospitals and construction. My independent business also involves making agriculture, industrial and lifestyle stock imagery for Design Pics and Alamy. I also sell stock images from my extensive photo library directly to clients such as the Cotton Board in Tennessee to Zenith Watches in Switzerland.
For several years in the early 1990s I broadened my photographic realm. I made cultural and educational photographs in the U.S. for English as a Second Language books for Longman Publishing through their Hong Kong and London offices.
In 1992 I started teaching Photojournalism as an adjunct instructor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. I was referred by the former instructor Mark Kauffman, a former LIFE Magazine staff photographer. He mentored me as I taught the class that I originally took as a student 16 years earlier.
While at Cal Poly, SLO, I taught myself Adobe Photoshop version 2.0. Shortly thereafter, I was the first instructor to teach Photoshop to fellow Cal Poly instructors in the Faculty Multimedia Development Center. I continued to teach Photoshop to my photojournalism students and in the Graphic Communication and Extended Education Departments until 2000.
In 2001, I started as an adjunct photography instructor for the Cuesta College Fine Art Department in San Luis Obispo. I’m currently in my 15th year at Cuesta teaching traditional darkroom film photography and digital photography using Adobe Lightroom.
In 2003, I took a semester off from Cuesta College to be an assistant Photoshop instructor for the Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging in Los Osos, California. During my time at Lepp, I assisted instructors in classes and workshops.
Around the time of the millennium, I authored Photoshop Encyclopedia, a 396-page ebook containing hyperlinks and cross-references of more than 1,400 Photoshop and digital photography terms. A few years later, I compiled a second ebook titled Photoshop Crosswords. It contains 25 crossword puzzles to help make learning Photoshop fun and easier for students. I also created and designed Photoshop-Help(dot)com website to offer technical troubleshooting help for novice users.
The real beginning of my fine art work was in 2004, when I pursued natural subjects for my personal and fine art photography work. I often work alone with the aim to photograph what is felt and not often seen. I enjoy capturing moments that evoke mystery, mood and beauty and sharing them with others. It was also in 2004 that I won my first global award: a third place in the People category with the International Photography Awards.
Around 2006, I returned to appreciate black and white's simplicity of form and light. The challenge and discovery in making simple compositional elements in black and white (and color) deepens my personal rapport with nature.
In 2010, I entered my fine art work in contests and publications. I was glad to see my fine art photography winning international competitions and shown in galleries. My photography consistently won many major awards in the Black and White Spider Awards from 2010-2013. The year 2011 was distinct when I was chosen as the 3rd place Professional "Photographer of the Year" winner.
Also in the 2010-2013 span, I received top awards in the San Francisco International Photography Exhibition, the New York Center for Photographic Art, the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Black and White Magazine Portfolio Contest. In 2011, two magazines published my work. Silvershotz and Black and White Magazine published multi-page Spotlight articles and photographs of my portfolio.
In particular, 2013 was a very good year for me. I received the Silver Award in the Nature category along with two other Honorable Mentions in the Prix de la Photographie Competition (PX3), Paris, France. The International Photography Awards also named a photographic triptych image First Place in Nature and also I collected eight other Honorable Mention awards in Fine Art and Nature.
Notably, in June 2013, I was awarded the Best of Show honor and a generous cash award in the Camera USA National Photography Awards from the Naples Art Association and The Von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Florida. I attended the gallery opening in an all-expense paid trip to Florida.
In 2014 the Sony World Photography Awards awarded my photo series “Wave Exploration” the Third Place Award. Over 70,000 professional images from 166 countries were submitted for the contest.
Also in 2014, I was the featured artist in the August issue of Outdoor Photographer Magazine. The magazine article and photo spread examined my black and white landscape film-based photography look while taken in the digital realm.
Now in 2015, I received Honorable Mention in the Yosemite Renaissance XXX, Yosemite National Park, CA., and have exhibited in several galleries. I’ve also completed several dormant photography projects and posted them on my website. I look forward to be interviewed soon by Photographer’s Forum magazine for a November 2016 story on my photography.
I’m also happy to publish my first photography book this year titled, The Nine Sisters - photographs of a rare chain of volcanic peaks near where I live in San Luis Obispo.
Photo of Tony Hertz by Steve Silberstein