Me and Mortensen, Photography with the Master

by Robert Balcomb

In 1956 Robert Balcomb studied with American Master Photographer William Mortensen in his Laguna Beach studio. This long-awaited book on Balcomb’s time with Mortensen is a richly illustrated, inside look at one of the world’s finest Pictorialist photographers of the last century. The author delves into the lessons that he learned from the Master, and describes how he took the teachings and made them his own over a successful fifty-four-year career as a fine portrait photographer.

In addition to the numerous photos and illustrations accompanying the text is a gallery of eighty-two portraits, still lifes, and pictorials from Balcomb’s long career, and six Mortensen prints—some being published for the first time.

Every now and then there comes along a photographer who, in every sense of the word, is an “artist.” Robert Balcomb is that man: He has accomplished with his camera what Master painters have done for centuries. —John Isaac, former Head of the United Nations Photography Unit.

Balcomb’s portraits are original works of art on a plateau of their own. They are insightful… they are creative… they are live… they connect the observer to the person on the paper emotionally—Al Stewart, photographer, trumpeter for Benny Goodman, Charlie Barnet, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy May, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Della Reese, Judy Garland.

From the Foreword: Of all Mortensen‘s students, I have always felt that Robert Balcomb‘s work comes the closest to capturing the feel, both technically and emotionally, of his later images. For that he is to be congratulated. Robert truly took up the torch of Mortensen‘s work while clearly making his work his own. That is a difficult thing to do.—Larry Lytle, Mortensen scholar, contributing author to Mortensen: A Revival, Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona.

First edition $45 • hard cover, 225 pgs.

Read Chapter Two for free!

Robert Balcomb Photography Gallery