Robert K. Byers' interest in fine art photography
started in 1961 with studies with Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock and
Brett Weston. He was a Trustee of the Friends of Photography for
nineteen years. During his tenure that organization reached a membership
high of 17,000. In addition, he was Treasurer of that organization
for eighteen years and served for a time as Vice President. He has taught at
numerous workshops throughout the United States, including many
for the Friends of Photography organization. He primarily uses large
format cameras and has traveled extensively, photographing in the
United States, Canada, Mexico and throughout Europe and Japan. He
and Brett Weston were on many trips together including Europe, Hawaii,
throughout all of the western United States, and on many of the
back roads of Canada and Alaska.
His work has been shown in numerous individual and group exhibitions
throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. His images are in
public and university museums as well as corporate and private collections
both here and abroad. He is represented by a number of galleries
in the United States and Japan.
Mr. Byers was born in 1918 in Idaho where he spent his childhood.
He graduated from
the university of California Berkeley with a degree in economics
in 1940. During the next seven years he received an L.L.B. from
Harvard Law School, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and served
as Captain in the United States Army during World War II. Thereafter,
for many years, he practiced law in California's Santa Clara and
Monterey Counties and is now retired from a Carmel law firm and
devotes most all of his time pursuing photography as a fine art
form. He is a consultant to Sata Corporation of Tokyo, Japan, Oriental
Paper Distributing Company of Santa Ana, CA, and Photo Gallery International,
Tokyo, the largest photo gallery in Japan.
Here are his comments about his photography:
working with the camera I want to do something more than make a
"record photograph". I want to arouse a reaction in the observer
of the photograph similar to that felt by me, which prompted the
exposure. Without this reaction I fail. I want the composition,
or arrangement of the parts or elements, to have a special quality
or character. If after choosing the subject, I can organize the
elements in a pleasing and harmonious way, combining them with tonal
range and proper darkroom techniques, I succeed. I don't want it
to be a mechanical process, but rather a method of reproduction
as a creative art. Because I can't place my objects like a painter,
I attempt to modify that limitation by camera placement, lens focal
length, exposure, camera format and most importantly the light.
Above all, I want my prints to reflect a combination of choice of
subject, composition, tonal range and technique both in the darkroom
and in the field. Each time I photograph or work in the darkroom
I want to improve the elements of that combination."
"Because of my long association with photographers who if labeled
would probably be called the "West Coast School", I would have a
similar tag. My photography is generally landscapes, nature, abstracts,
some architecture and a few portraits."