A bit over a year ago, as I approached the age of 80, I started thinking that maybe the 35 or 40 pounds of photographic equipment that I was carrying in my back-pack on each trip was getting to be a serious burden. A few years earlier I had evolved from a medium format camera user to become a large format photographer, which meant that I carried a 4 x 5 Chamonix field camera, an assortment of five lenses each in a cloth bag, a dark cloth, spot meter, loupe magnifier, a quantity of loaded film holders, an assortment of filters, a lens blower and my carbon fiber tripod. Three or four miles of hiking with this full backpack was becoming my limit for a photography hike.
On longer trips I've enjoyed hiring a "sherpa" to carry my pack. One of my favorite sherpas was a member of the Zuni Tribe named Zachary. After a day or two of hiking in the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico, Zach knew which lens to hand me as well as which filter I needed. I guess by now you figured out that I am a film photographer.
I've noticed in the last few years that it is no longer possible to find a photography workshop exclusively for film photographers. Years ago, John Sexton did film based work-shops. I enrolled in several of his. Now, all of his workshops are for both film and digital photographers. Recently, I attended a workshop on the Oregon coast with Don Kirby and Stu Levy. It blew my mind that even Don Kirby is photographing with a digital camera and he is touting the benefits of digital.
So I bought a digital camera, and after a month or so I ended up giving it away to my daughter. I'll stick with film, thank you very much. I made a decision that I am a film photographer and if I have to hire more sherpas or take shorter trips, so be it.
All of my work is film based. I work exclusively in black and white with either a large format 4x5 Chamonix field camera or my 35mm Leica M6. I develop and print in my own darkroom.
In my younger years I spent many summers backpacking in the High Sierra. Upon awakening I would open a flap of my tent to see that the dew on the grasses had frozen during the night. Water vapor would rise from the lakes in slow swirls. At dusk the alpenglow would engulf the rocky crags in flame. The pristine land, the smells of the mountain air and the lingering silence became part of who I am. These were spiritual experiences for me.
It was no wonder then, that as my interest developed in photography, landscape would become my primary genre. I wanted to capture not only the physical beauty of the landforms in my photography, but the spiritual essence as well.
I became interested in the work of Carleton Watkins, Timothy O’Sullivan, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. The photographers of the Group f.64 of the thirties were my heroes. In that tradition, it was only natural that I would evolve to work exclusively in black and white. All of my work is film based. Nothing is photoshopped, nothing is manipulated digitally. I photograph with either a large format 4 x 5 Chamonix field camera or a 35mm Leica M6.
It has been said that every ripple from a pebble thrown into a pond, leaves a lasting impression upon the shore. I would thus hope that my photographs might likewise leave some impression upon the minds and souls of those viewing them whether they be family, friends, fellow photographers or total strangers.
2020 (Opening February 20) Solo Exhibition, What Are Men to Rocks and Mountains?
The Sequoias, San Francisco, CA
2019 Group Exhibition, Marking Time, 20th Anniversary of Bay Area Photographers’
Collective, Harvey Milk Photography Center, San Francisco. CA
2018 Group Exhibition, Of Dreams and Reality, Curated by Ann Jastrab,
Bay Area Photographers Collective, Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA
2018 Group Exhibition, Making of a Beautiful Bridge, Bay Area Photographers
Collective, Samurai Foto Exhibition, Yokohama, Japan
2018 Group Exhibition, Anthroposcene, Bay Area Photographers Collective,
ARC Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2017 Group Exhibition, Tularosa Basin Photography Gallery, Carrizozo, NM
2017 Solo Exhibition, New Mexico: A Meditative State, Plaza Galeria, Santa Fe, NM
2017 Solo Exhibition, New Mexico: A Meditative State, curated by Jeffrey Richardson,
Farmington Museum, Farmington, NM
2016 Group Exhibition, Twelve: It's About Time, Curated by Rebecca Gregg, Chris Fraser.
Viewpoint Photographic Art Center, Sacramento, CA
2016 Group Exhibition , Wanderings, a pop-up exhibit by Curated State, San Francisco, CA
2016 Group exhibition, Vanishing Point, Bay Area Photographers Collective,
Mullen Brothers, San Francisco, CA
2016 Solo exhibition, The American Southwest, The Sequoias, San Francisco, CA
2016 Group Exhibition, First Tuesday Art Walk, Mill Valley Community Center, Mill Valley, CA
2015 Group Exhibition, Party for the Parks, San Francisco Parks Alliance, Palace of Fine Arts,
San Francisco, CA
2015 Guest Lecturer, "It's Not Aways About the Subject Matter," Harvey Milk Photo
Center, San Francisco, CA
2014 Group Exhibition, Bay Area Photographers Collective, Conversation, Bucci's,
2013 Solo Exhibition, Landforms, Arizmendi Bakery, 1002 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA
2013 Solo Exhibition, Landforms, Epicenter Cafe, 764 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA
2013 Solo Exhibition, Landscapes of the Southwest, Make the Cut, 1400 Agua Fria, Santa Fe,
2012 Group Exhibition, Landscapes, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael, CA
2012 Group Exhibition, Landscapes, Architecture, Waterscapes, McInnis Golf Club
Restaurant, San Rafael, CA
NON-PROFIT GALA AUCTIONS
2018 San Francisco Camerawork Annual Auction
2017 ALS Annual Gala and Auction
2017 American Bach Soloists' Annual Gala
2016 San Francisco Camerawork Annual Auction
2016 American Bach Soloists' Annual Gala
2016 ALS Annual Gala and Auction
2015 American Bach Soloists' Annual Gala
2014 American Bach Soloists' Annual Gala
2014 San Francisco Chamber Orchestra Annual Gala
2013 American Bach Soloists' Annual Gala
2012 American Bach Soloists' Annual Gala
2011 San Francisco Chamber Orchestra Annual Gala
2011 American Bach Soloists' Annual Gala
2017 Photography Wide-Open workshop with Mark de Paola at Leica Store San Francisco. CA
2016 Language of Light Workshop, Leanne Hansen, Image Flow, Mill Valley. CA
2015 Eastern Sierra Large Format Workshop, Steve Simmons & Rick Rosen, Lee Vining & Lone Pine, CA
2015 Liquid Emulsion, Printing on Glass & Metal, Susanna Lamaina, Harvey Milk Photo Center, San Francisco
2014 Advanced Black & White Craft Workshop, Mark Citret, Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco, Mark Citret
2014 One-on-one field workshop, Don Kirby, Santa Fe, NM
2014 Zone System, Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco, Moshe Quinn
2014 Contemplative Photography, Shambala Meditation Center, San Francisco, Susan Stoddard
2013 Death Valley Photography Workshop, Death Valley, Michael Gordon
2013 Landscape Photography, The Image Flow, Mill Valley, Hendrik Paul
2013 One-on-one darkroom workshop, group field workshop, Santa Fe, NM, Alan Ross
2013 Fine Tuning the Expressive Print Workshop, Carmel Valley, John Sexton
2013 Advanced Black/White Darkroom Techniques, City College of San Francisco, Nadereh Degani
2012 Personal mentorship, Palo Alto, Steve Kiser
2012 SF Camerawork, Janet Delaney Business of Art and Beyond2012 and Kate Farrall
2012 Introduction to Large Format Photography, (field workshop) Alabama Hills, Michael Gordon
2012 Large Format Photography, Harvey Milk Center, Mitsu Yoshikawa
2011 Macro Photography, College of Marin, Reid Thaler
2011 Shoot the Moon, B&W Workshop, Point Reyes, Marty Knapp
2011 Personal Mentorship, Nicholas Pavloff
2011 Photography III, San Francisco State University, Lewis Desoto and Chris Morring
2010 The Espressive Black and White Print Workshop, Carmel Valley, John Sexton
2009 Photography II, College of Marin, Polly Steinmetz
2009 Personal Photography Project, Rayko Photo Center, Kira Shemano
2009 History of Photography, San Francisco State University, Patricia Albers
2009 Black and White Photography I, Diablo Valley College, Sean McFarland
REVIEWS OF KEN HOFFMAN'S PHOTOGRAPHY
REVIEWS OF KEN HOFFMAN’S EXHIBIT, LANDFORMS, AT EPICENTER CAFÉ, 2013
"These outdoor works clearly come from a single source. Much of the work draws you onto the paths laid out by Rocky Creek Bridge, Tunnel of Trees, and the Brooklyn Bridge and expose you to a manipulated photographic world where surprise and wonder hold the upper hand. Hoffman's knowledge of camera controls, film selection and filtration all conspire to lift the image off the paper. This collection competes as one of the strongest groupings I've seen to date."