Yosemite, JFC, July 1961


The sleeve in the Jessica Fong Collection has the exact date, July 1, 1961. Three weeks after Joel’s 40th birthday.

These are all 4×5″ negatives and the first images we’ve ever seen from this area as photographed by Joel. Previous land and seascapes were all closer to home, and the majority were located at the coast.

There’s no story behind what exactly happened, but on July 1, 1961, Joel ends up as a photo tourist with a companion in Yosemite. He’s taking the grandeur in from this National Park. His images are “pretty”, there’s however no organized attempt to study and develop the subject in detail. This will happen on the many subsequent trips.

Was Joel introduced by another photographer or was he bombarded by B&W Yosemite images from Ansel Adams in the various magazines Joel read and studied in ? It really doesn’t matter at this point, we have a lot to look forward to; Yosemite explored in the 1960’s. Things were different.

Showing the negative scans in the order as found in this sleeve.

Yosemite, Half-Dome, photography companion, July 1, 1961

One of the unfortunate issues with these negatives is that the development appears uneven. There are muddy areas in the sky and the overall contrast could be better.

Yosemite, reading the historic markers, July 1, 1961
Yosemite, Merced River, photography companion, July 1, 1961
Yosemite, Half-Dome in the distance, July 1, 1961
Yosemite, Half-Dome in the distance, July 1, 1961
Yosemite, Bridal Veil Fall, July 1, 1961
Yosemite, reading the historic markers, July 1, 1961
Yosemite, Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, July 1, 1961
Yosemite, Half-Dome, Joel Pahl Dardis with camera, July 1, 1961

The above image shows Joel with a smaller format roll film camera. His companion snapped this image after Joel took his, see the first image in this series.

Yosemite, snaking road (Tioga Pass ?), July 1, 1961
Yosemite, Half-Dome, July 1, 1961
Yosemite view along Route 120, July 1, 1961
Yosemite road view,, July 1, 1961

All in all, 13 negatives that are keepers, but not necessarily prime candidates for prints in light of low contrast, and at times poor development leaving blotches.

But it gave Joel something to ponder.

Cheers !

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