Stan Zrnich: Of Land and Sea

Terminal 2

November 2012 - January 2013

Stan Zrnich: Of Land and Sea

". . . whatever attracts me visually.
It may be an emotional response. 
I don’t know what it is.
I just try to get out of my own way
and let the image be a gift."

      Stan Zrnich 2010
      San Rafael, Marin County, California

Born in 1927, Stan Zrnich was raised on a family farm in western Pennsylvania and received his primary education in small one-room schools before graduating from Midland, Pennsylvania’s Lincoln High School in 1945. Zrnich had enlisted in the Navy earlier that spring, and one day after his eighteenth birthday, he began basic training. Soon he was shipped to Okinawa by way of Camp Parks and San Francisco. He served in Okinawa, Guam, Japan, and China until he was discharged. After the war in 1946, he worked on the family farm in Pennsylvania and at the local steel mill and eventually left for Yosemite National Park to look for work.

Prior to coming to California from Pennsylvania in 1947, Zrnich was interested in studying photography. He was not in Yosemite Valley long before he discovered Best Studio, and met Phil Knight and Ansel Adams. He spent much of his free time there. Soon, he bought a Kodak Retina II camera with a twin lens reflex and started photographing. Yosemite was a magnet for photographers, and Best Studio was its center. Many photographers would gather there and discuss art and photography. Encouraged by Phil Knight and Ansel Adams, Zrnich enrolled at California School of Fine Arts, now San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), in the spring of 1951. At SFAI, he studied photography under Minor White, Ansel Adams, Bill Quandt, and guest lecturers Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, and Imogen Cunningham. He was greatly inspired by a trip to Edward Weston's studio.

Zrnich’s artistic acumen was cultivated during a time when photography was undergoing a revolution; it was the birth of a new art form. Zrnich and many other dedicated photographers were the protégés of mentors who developed the concept of modern photography within an academic, fine-art context. Zrnich’s Of Land and Sea exhibition presents a glimpse of a young photographer’s artistic vision during the early development of a new medium in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Zrnich still resides in the Bay Area, photographing and archiving his collection of negatives and prints.

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