AIR at 40: 1995 Artist in Residence: Richard Lohmann

By Jenny Zeller

Guerilla Hollow contact print by 1995 AIR Richard Lohmann.

Richard Lohmann, a fine-art photographer living in California whose works “reside comfortably between the boundaries of documentary and interpretative landscape photography,” earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in photography from San Francisco State University. From 1979 to 1984 he worked for the Imogen Cunningham Trust making platinum prints from Cunningham’s glass plate negatives. Patented in 1897, the platinum print is considered perhaps the most beautiful and unique of the photographic processes, and one in which Lohmann employed in his photographic practice for decades, including his time as 1995 Bernheim Artist in Residence.

“When you look into a platinum print, study its shading, its contrasts and its richness. You will see a print that speaks volumes about individuality and subtlety: a hand-made print created in an era of mass production and conformity.”  ~ Richard Lohmann

Richard Lohmann and his Korona Banquet View camera in residence at Bernheim, 1995.









His platinum prints were elevated by his use of the large format Korona Banquet View camera with a 42” long lens that produces negatives about 1′ tall and 2′ wide. Lohmann combined these unique formats in his work because it gave him two things he desires as an artist: a wide panoramic view of the world and the largest practical negative available today. “These cameras produce a degree of sharpness and clarity unmatched in photography.”

As a professor of photography at College of San Mateo, Lohmann often has little time to work on his own photography career. In regards to his time at Bernheim, he has been quoted as saying “It’s really a chance of a lifetime, a great opportunity.” The July 17, 1995 edition of The Kentucky Standard reported that Lohmann brimmed with enthusiasm about rising at the crack of dawn to capture the image of fog rolling off the lake in the diffused morning light and that his favorite subject was a tulip tree.

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In addition to Bernheim’s Artist in Residence fellowship, Lohmann has received a number of grants, including the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation’s Community Arts Program and Peninsula Community Foundation’s Landscapes in San Mateo County. He has exhibited widely across the United States and in Bath, England and his work is in the permanent collection of the San Francisco of Modern Art and several corporate collections. Lohmann has been a professor of photography at College of San Mateo since 1987 and has conducted numerous workshops at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park.

After 26 years of platinum printing, Lohmann has successfully transitioned to now making his black and white prints digitally.

All of the images in the above slide show were captured at Bernheim during Lohmann’s residency in 1995. These images are on permanent loan and available for viewing in the Photographic Archives at the University of Louisville’s Special Collections.


2020 marks the 40th anniversary of Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program. Established in 1980, this internationally renowned program annually awards artists the opportunity to live and create site-specific work inspired by their total immersion experience at Bernheim. Throughout 2020, we are celebrating the contributions of the program’s past that has allowed our visitors to experience nature in a new way while enhancing awareness of Bernheim’s mission of connecting people to nature.

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