A trip to capture the coast

Students travel to learn from photography pioneers


Ron Morales

Photography student and exhibition curator Hector Valdivia explains his process in creating five prints for the new show in the Luxe Gallery at San Diego City College, Nov. 9.

Shaylyn Martos, Editor in Chief

A new photo exhibition on campus showcases an inspirational trip up the California coast which gave San Diego City College students the chance to meet and learn from masters.

“West Coast Photography: In the footsteps of the masters” opened on Nov. 9 in the Luxe Gallery in the V-Building on 16th and C Street and shows work inspired by a weeklong trip in the summer of 2017. Also on display are state prints of work by black and white film photography pioneer, Ansel Adams, a California native who died in 1984.

The trip included gallery tours and workshops from prolific artists such as John Sexton and the Weston family. Dave Eichinger, photography professor and organizer of the trip, said, “It was a thank you to the students. They work for us year-round for free.”

Eichinger contacted his friend Sexton, who worked as Adams’ assistant for the last five years of Adams’ life and frequently puts on workshops for students. Sexton and his wife Ann Larson were happy to accommodate Eichinger and his students. They also provided original prints for the exhibition at City College.

Ron Morales
Photography student Marina Molodec views
prints by exhibition curator Hector Valdivia.

Kim and Gina Weston, members of influential photographer Edward Weston’s family, opened up their home to the group for a Master class. Eichinger said the most inspirational part of the trip was seeing Edward Weston’s original darkroom, which was “just a contact frame and a light bulb.” Weston used this simple setup to create masterpieces.

The curator of the show, Hector Valdivia, has been a lab tech in the photography department at City College since 2015 and has five photos in the exhibition. He said he enjoys working for the photography department because “helping students and molding future artists is amazing.”

Valdivia’s photos were black and white prints from time he spent in Big Sur. These dramatic and dynamic shots showed his use of longer exposure to show movement of running water, and the texture of trees knocked over and charred from recent construction in the national park.

He said he felt the group “oozing creativity” the entire trip. “It was a little overwhelming,” he said.

Valdivia said his favorite part of the trip was seeing Edward Weston’s famous “Pepper No. 30,” which the Westons had on display above their chimney. “They were very humble,” he said. “And they welcomed us with open arms.”