Robert Balcomb *

10.10.2012 in16:00 in Portraits -->


Master portrait photographer Robert Balcomb lives in the Puget Sound area, having practiced portraiture for over forty years, from California to New Mexico to his present location. He is a graduate of the American Academy of Art, Chicago, and has a BS-Ed from The University of New Mexico and an MA-Ed from The University of Northern Colorado. He also was a faculty member of Olympic College, Bremerton WA, specializing in English grammar, technical writing, and public speaking.

Balcomb is not just a photographer. After the Chicago art school training, he spent two decades as an Advertising and Technical Illustrator—he emphasies the point that in order for one to consider himself a photographer in the world of Art he must necessarily be also an Artist, not just a shutter-clicker, as too many photographers unfortunately are. The Mortensen technique demands the touch of an Artist.

Through 1956-7 Robert studied and worked with the pre-eminent photographer William Mortensen in Laguna Beach, California, who said that Balcomb was the only one of his 3000 students, if memory served, who so well mastered his techniques and followed his philosophies. In 1965 Balcomb began writing a book on the Master, since none existed, but upon learning that Mortensen had recently died, and having difficulty obtaining prints for the manuscript, he decided that to write about him from a student’s point of view, showing the Mortensen influence, would be more interesting than the usual biography. In 1971 he spent several days with Mortensen’s widow Myrdith in Laguna Beach, during which time she said, “You know, Bill considered you as his protege!” and through considerable correspondence with her gathered information for the manuscript. Further research included a trip to Park City, Utah, Mortensen’s birthplace.