Photographing the Wall
Photographing with Fred Picker II/VI
In this film, Fred Picker takes us on a step-by-step location scout as he searches for the perfect “scene”, a wall, at a desolate barnyard. His meticulous attention to detail, his intuitive perceptions to tone, light and shadows is masterful. While scouting, Picker casually teaches us things about photography, almost as if quietly taking personal notes. To watch Picker, a master photographer at work and to feel welcome in his presence at the same time, are two things a student, viewer or photographer can be fortunate enough to experience.
Internationally celebrated photographer, Fred Picker will be long remembered for his photographic work. Picker’s wide, sweeping wilderness landscapes and intimate studies of natural forms have been held up alongside the work of Ansel Adams, Paul Strand and Edward Weston.
Picker was involved in the manufacture of 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 large format field cameras. And his filters, camera designs, tripods and other photographic aids are still considered indispensable tools of the trade by photographers. He taught a highly successful photography class known as "The Zone VI Workshop," and authored a book by the same name that has become recognized as the golden standard of photographic instruction.
His uncanny sense of "photographer's intuition” and his passion for the art was a unique combination. Always opinionated and oft times controversial, his dedication to large format photography was unsurpassed. Many called Picker’s straightforward approach to the relationship between the "scene" and the final print, pure genius. But Picker himself had a more grounded approach to encouraging his students and other photographers. Picker will always be known for saying, "If you want to know what happens with this or that, don't ask me ... test it." That phrase was simple, but it made perfect sense to the many who have followed his wise advice.
With a love for the photographic art form, his contributions to photography as an educator, equipment designer/manufacturer, writer and artist, Picker was a true Pioneer that improved the field of photography.
Picker once wrote, on the occasion of Ansel Adams’s passing away, to "lift a glass to him, he would appreciate that". That’s Picker: always thoughtful, always caring.
Fred Picker, 1927 - 2002