In 1932, an association titled "Group f.64" was organized by a group of eleven photographers: Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, John Paul Edwards, Sonya Noskowiak, Henry Swift, Willard Van Dyke, Consuelo Kanaga, Alma Lavenson, Preston Holder and Brett Weston. One of the finest collections of Group f.64 work has been assembled for an exhibition at Duncan Miller Gallery.
Adams and Cunningham were drawn to Edward Weston's Carmel studio after seeing his photographs of Mexico, the Monterey Peninsula, and Big Sur. They launched a movement that would revolutionize American photography. The name "Group f.64," was derived from the smallest aperture available in the large format cameras they used.
They rejected then popular soft focus styles for a "pure photography," defined in their manifesto as "possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form," i.e., painting or graphic art. They believed that their "straight photography" was true to the medium, and their aesthetic emphasized clarity of image, maximum depth of field, sharp focus, and attention to detail and texture. In the darkroom, they used smooth, glossy papers and techniques that preserved tonal gradations to render photographic images as accurately as possible.
The movement had a profound and enduring influence. Adams' portrayals of Yosemite emphasize a sense of grandiosity and awe, Weston used the camera to uncover abstract and sensuous elements in his subjects. "To photograph a rock," he famously wrote, "have it look like a rock, but be more than a rock."