The Golden Decade: Photography at the California School of Fine Arts, 1945-1955

 

The Golden Decade begins with the following statement:
“Two months after the Japanese surrender on board the battleship Missouri ended World War II, Mrs. Charles de Young Elkus, Jr., president of the Columbia Foundation, sent a letter to Eldridge Theodore “Ted” Spencer, the president of the San Francisco Art Association. The letter, which was dated November 1, 1945, stated, “I am happy to inform you that the Board of Directors of the Columbia Foundation has approved a grant of $10,000 to the San Francisco Art Association for the establishment of a Department of Photography at the California School of Fine Arts …” With this letter, the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) Department of Photography came into being.”

The Golden Decade, Photography at the California School of Fine Arts 1945-55 chronicles the history of the Department of Photography at the California School of Fine Arts during the years from 1945 to 1955. It details the creation and the evolution of the department as well as the immense contributions by teachers including Ansel Adams and Minor White, and such notable visiting instructors as Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham, and Lisette Model.

The Golden Decade includes personal accounts from students on classes, assignments, and teachers as well as first-person narratives like “Field Trip to Point Lobos” and “The Grove of Akademus – A Student’s Tale”.

The biggest great joy in the book comes from seeing the numerous black and white images from 35 student portfolios. Some of the student’s names are familiar, many are not, but almost all the images are remarkable and document a unique time and place in the American photographic history.

The facts:
The Golden Decade: Photography at the California School of Fine Arts, 1945-1955
Edited by Ken and Victoria Whyte Ball
Text by William Heick, Ira H. Latour, C. Cameron Macauley, Ken Ball, Victoria Whyte Ball
416 pages
11.5 x 11.5 in. / 28×28 cm
375 photographs
Tritone
Clothbound hardcover
US $75.00 / Euro 58.00
More information here.

Robert Hollingsworth, San Francisco CA, 1953

Lee Blodget, California, C. 1948

Helen Howell San Francisco, CA, 1949

David Johnson, Boy and Flag, San Francisco CA 1947

Charles Wong, Untitled, C. Early 1950s