Henry Wessel, ‘Snowmass, Colorado’, 1973, Pace/MacGill Gallery

Image rights: © Henry Wessel

About Henry Wessel

Henry Wessel, Jr. first gained recognition in the 1970s as part of the New Topographics, a group of photographers who challenged the conventions of documentary and landscape photography, capturing instead the poetry of seemingly mundane scenes and subjects—traffic lights, advertisements, empty landscapes, and suburbia. During the 1970s Wessel moved to San Francisco from New York after falling in love with the brilliant quality of light in California. There, in both black-and-white and color film, he photographed the vernacular architecture and social landscape of his new surroundings, in prints marked by long shadows and rich tonal variations. Speaking about judging a successful photo, Wessel once said, “You’re suddenly seeing the coherence and the interconnectedness of everything, left to right, bottom to top, front to back. It’s all connected, and somehow, it’s all in balance. And that’s, of course, when you go ‘Yes!’”

American, b. 1942, Teaneck, New Jersey, based in Point Richmond, California