I only learned about Joel Pahl Dardis by attending his estate sale on March 12, 2022, after being alerted to it that day by my friend Jessica Fong, Director of the Stockton Art League Goodwin Gallery on Miracle Mile.
One look at the photography item tables, and it became immediately clear that this was a prolific film photographer with many varied interests. In a split second decision, I decided to purchase as much as possible of what was left of the already picked-over negatives and chromes, not really knowing the extent of what was already purchased at that point.
Any local photographer, with this amount of photographic work documenting mostly local 1940-2002 events, deserves to be remembered and seen by as many as possible.
Joel, born June 6, 1921, San Joaquin, California, passed away at the ripe old age of 100 years on October 9, 2021.
From his obituary in the Stockton Record, we learn …
“He attended St. Mary’s High School and the College of the Pacific. Joel lived life to its fullest and had many passion projects.
He was an award-winning photographer, specializing in larger formats in color as well as black and white. His interests were varied. “
As far as we know, he resided most of his life at 524 West Walnut, Stockton, California.
Furthermore according to his Stockton Record obituary;
“In his later years, you could find him with a hoe or rake in hand as he lovingly tended and pruned his many fruit trees. Joel loved to cook and shared his persimmon cookies made from his backyard trees.
He also loved a good political debate with anyone he could wrangle into a conversation. You could try your best to win an argument, but you’d rarely succeed.
Joel retired from the San Joaquin County Office of Social Services. Later, he became an art and multimedia teacher for Lodi Unified School District.
Joel was most proud of his military service in the Army Air Force during World War II. He enlisted in 1943 and served most of his active duty in England. Joel was a corporal attached to the 9th Air Force Service Command of the U.S. Army.”
This blog will periodically examine chromes, in the form of glass slides, and B&W negatives in various formats, to gain a glimpse in the life, work, vision, development and thought processes of Joel P. Dardis.
The image above is from a contact strip scan, labeled December 28, 1938. Joel was still in highschool and this is where we believe he picked up his passion for photography.
We’ll take a look at the beginnings in next blog post.