Photography West Gallery was founded in 1980. The gallery was the collective idea of four Carmel photographers, Brett Weston (1911-1993), Ron C. James (1937-2013), Claudette Bargreen Dibert (1942-1982) and Carol Williams. For nearly four decades the gallery has maintained a distinctive position within the West Coast photographic discourse. Our exhibition program has supported both emerging and established photographers committed to film and actively engaged in perfecting their final photographs using classical wet darkroom process. Many of our photographers have invented their darkroom chemistry, built their own cameras and all of them work without digital technology. The gallery today is dedicated to maintaining a West Coast sanctuary exclusively devoted to artist printed, film photography.
For thirty years, Photography West collaborated with Ansel Adams' favorite book printer and lithographer (David Gray Gardner) until his retirement at age 87 in 2013. Together we produced the finest quality photographic monographs of the era and won numerous awards, including "Photography Book of the Year" from Friends of Photography and as well as production accolades for Gardner's patented, state-of-the-art, fascimile quality reproductions which set new standards in the printing industry. With one exception (Ruth Bernhard: The Eternal Body (1986) which still enjoys printings by Chronicle Books (and more recently Amazon!) and has sold over 30,000 copies) all our photography books were exclusively hardbound, first editions. In 2013, Photography West published a concluding monograph Romah Loranc: Absolution - Fifty Photographs from Europe. It won three awards, including the United States Literary Award for Fine Art Photography as well as the 2014 Gold Medal "North American Printer of the Year" for Dual Graphics.
Employing a highly individualistic curatorial stance, Photography West Gallery has been among the first to identify and support photographers who achieved critical acclaim. We were the first gallery to exhibit emerging West Coast photographers Winston Swift Boyer (1980), Jeffrey Becom (1982), Christopher Burkett (1984), Carol Henry (1991), Roman Loranc (1997) and Rolfe Horn (1998). We also supported elderly masters of the medium with exhibitions and publications in the years preceding their death, including Brett Weston, Ruth Bernhard, William Garnett, Don Worth and Morley Baer.