Gallery of Fine Art Photography - Atlanta GA

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Ron Partridge – A Unique Vantage Point

Photographer Rondal Partridge had more than a front seat view to the golden age of West Coast photography, he drove the car – literally. Partridge, who was the son of Imogen Cunningham, often assisted Dorothea Lange as she photographed in California during the Great Depression. One of his duties was motoring Lange through the countryside as she hunted for images. READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

Asparagus Worker, Sacramento River Delta, 1940

Asparagus Worker, Sacramento River Delta, 1940

Ron also assisted Ansel Adams, carrying Adams’ heavy gear up and down the mountains of Yosemite. Ever irreverent, Ron was once fired (then rehired) by Adams after he tied Adams’ shoelaces together, causing the great photographer to fall flat on his face.
Ron, who passed away in June of 2015, was one of the last witnesses to this pivotal time in photographic history. Partridge’s hand is very much present in the recent Lumière exhibition Circle of Light, as he printed all of his mother’s European photographs. For many years Partridge was the keeper of her legacy, running The Imogen Cunningham Trust and printing her work after Cunningham’s death in 1976.
Mother and son shared an interest in platinum printing, as well as other darkroom explorations. Partridge also experimented with gold printing, which is an unusual process.
The young Ron was profoundly influenced by his experiences working with documentarian Dorothea Lange. “It was completely pivotal experience for him. He was still a teenager when he drove Dorothea through California on assignment. The experience really focused his drive,” said Meg Partridge, his daughter and current director of The Imogen Cunningham Trust. “He was technologically advanced by the age of 15 or 16, so when he worked with Dorothea Lange, he could take advantage of what she had to offer. He could see what photography could do to reveal injustice and perhaps promote change.”
Pave It and Paint It Green, Yosemite National Park, 1965

Pave It and Paint It Green, Yosemite National Park, 1965

Lange’s commitment to social change left its mark on Partridge. Though Partridge often photographed beautiful objects, when he documented the landscape he was sure to include the damage inflicted by mankind. Adams photographed the gorgeous peaks of Yosemite, but Ron stepped back and included the parking lot at Half Dome (a famous Yosemite landmark) when he created his own iconic image of the national park called, Pave It and Paint It Green in 1965. Ron also made a short film of the same name.
Ron’s work was exhibited at Lumière in the exhibition, Dorothea Lange and Her Impact, which is available online through this link.
The mantle of history can weigh heavily on the child of famous and accomplished parents, but not so for Ron. He discussed his feelings on this subject with reporter Robert Taylor of the Contra Costa Times newspaper in 2003.”I am consciously not an icon,” he says. “I was exactly what I wanted to be. I’ve always done what I wanted to do — with small excursions into cash-related fields.” Partridge has taken all kinds of photos in all kinds of places, from the Orinda Hills to shipboard in the South Pacific, but he’s never been good at taking orders or following assignments that didn’t make sense to him. “You can’t believe the opportunities I missed — or didn’t take,’ he says, without a touch of regret.”
Additional information about Partridge’s work, can be found on his Artist Page.

Posted in: a Deeper Look

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