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Thread: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

  1. #1

    Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    I was shocked and saddened today when I received a call from Henry Gilpin’s wife Doris and daughter Jean with the news that my long-time friend and truly great photographer, Henry Gilpin, passed away Saturday at age 89. I first met Henry in 1973, when he was an instructor at Ansel Adams annual Yosemite workshop, and I was a student. Henry’s patience and generosity helped me decipher the Zone System following Ansel’s somewhat cryptic explanation of the technique. The first spot meter I ever looked through was Henry Gilpin’s at Washburn Point on that same workshop. Henry graciously arranged the first exhibition I ever had at the Shado’ Gallery in Oregon City, Oregon in 1974.

    Henry developed his first roll of film from his mother’s Kodak Vest Pocket camera at age 12. He often said that the turning point in his photography was when he attended Ansel Adams Yosemite workshop as a student in 1959. He fondly remembered being impressed at that workshop, seeing original prints not only by Ansel, but other great photographers as well. Henry began teaching at Ansel’s Yosemite workshops in 1967. His passion, dedication, vision, and excellent technique remained constant until just a few years ago when health problems prevented him from actively making photographs and working in the darkroom.

    Henry was proficient in all formats up to 8x10. However, for more than forty years the vast majority of his images were made with a Hasselblad camera. I not only had the privilege to study with Henry, but also the great honor to teach with him at a variety of workshops. Henry had a wonderful sense of humor that was often revealed while teaching. Even though I had heard many of Henry’s stories and jokes before, I always found them interesting and enjoyable. I will never forget the twinkle in his eye, as he would tell certain stories.

    I would often say that Henry “could make a Hasselblad look like a 4x5 any day.” As I write this, I’m looking at one of Henry’s stunning black and white photographs on my office wall. I’ve seen it every day for decades and to me it still speaks its quiet message. Henry has the ability to organize the world within an incisive eye and orchestrate qualities of light, so that the print would sing with wonderful harmony.

    Along with his passion for photography, he had a wonderful dedication to his family. Amazingly, in 1951 Henry joined the Monterey Sheriff’s Department and retired as Captain of Detectives in 1976. He taught photography at Monterey Peninsula College for thirty-seven years. Somehow Henry was able to balance all of these activities and maintain a constant devotion to and passion for the medium of photography.

    There are MANY photographers who were influenced over the years by Henry’s images, as well as his teaching, including me. He will be missed by all of them. Our loss, however, will pale in comparison to his family. Henry leaves behind a wonderful legacy of luminous images. Since he seldom sought notoriety or attention, his images may not be as easy to find as other photographers, but if you have the opportunity to see some of Henry’s photographs it will be an experience you will not forget.
    John Sexton

    www.johnsexton.com

    info(at)johnsexton.com

  2. #2
    unexposed darr's Avatar
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    Re: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    Very sad news. I have always admired Henry's work.
    Peace be with him and his family.

    Darr

  3. #3
    Robert Brummitt's Avatar
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    Re: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    Sad news! I have two of Henry's prints on my wall. They are very cherished by me. As is the memory I have of visiting Henry one afternoon at his home. That day I had seen you, John leading a workshop at Point Lobos, Martha Casanave at her school in Los Aptos and the crowning moment with Henry and his wonderful wife. They let myself and two other photographers into their home to visit.
    That was the day I found out that Henry was a pilot during WW II and flew the "Flying Box car" aka the B-24 Liberator. Every time one of those Bombers come to visit the Hillsboro airport, I think of Henry and how he served our Nation.
    thank you Henry. For your service and for your photography.

  4. #4

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    Re: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    Sad news. I took his "Introduction to LF Workshop" some ten years ago and have only fond memories of this whitehaired gentleman. RIP, Henry!

  5. #5
    Will Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    A nicely written tribute, John. I share the sadness of Henry's passing. I've admired his images, but never had the opportunity to meet him. How wonderful that his life was so full.

  6. #6

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    Re: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    Very sad.

  7. #7

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    Re: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    Likewise, I am saddened to hear the news; my thoughts are with Henry's family.

    Henry quietly produced stunning images year after year, and was a teacher to many. He will be missed, but his wonderful work, with its visual clarity and lessons of composition and technique, will endure.

  8. #8

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    Re: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    I attended the 1969 Yosemite Workshop. Besides Ansel, the instructors were Henry, Dick Garrod, Al Weber, Pirkle Jones, and Dorr Bothwell. Each had his or her own style, but all were good. Henry was warm, patient, helpful, an excellent instructor. And an outstanding photographer and craftsman. I wanted my prints to look just like his; and still when I print I often think of him. So sorry to hear of his passing.
    Wayne
    Wayne Lambert
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    www.waynelambert.net

  9. #9
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    Thanks for letting us know. Condolences to his family and friends.

    Although I never met Mr. Gilpin, we have one of his wonderful photos on our wall, and the small book of his photos sold by Freestyle. I love the print. We feel lucky to have it. It seems his prints were purposely priced so that they were affordable. His prints will continue to speak for him, as will all of the students he touched over many years of teaching at the college and at workshops.

  10. #10
    Robert Brummitt's Avatar
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    Re: Henry Gilpin Passes Away at Age 89

    I bought for myself back in the early '80's, a print. I was a twenty something. I was at the Friends of Photography gallery in the Sunset Center of Carmel. There was a print bin and in that bin was a small print titled "Highway one" by Henry Gilpin.
    That was my very first print I consciously bought for myself. I had to have it! For a kid who was earning very little and what I did earned went to film and paper and living expenses. This meant a lot! I had to have the print!!
    That very same print is on my wall and everyday I look at it. Today, It means so much more to me after John's announcement. I have two more Gilpin prints but that first one got me looking at truly expressive work.
    Thank you Henry.

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