Positive Negatives, The Photography of David Johnson, the First African-American student of Ansel Adams

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Join the Alameda Social Club as we bring a Film Festival experience to Alameda.  We have arranged for a private screening of Positive Negatives, The Photography of David Johnson.  

This amazing film uses Johnson's photography to tell the story of his journey to discover and master his craft while dealing with all of the social challenges of the times. David Johnson has the distinction of being Ansel Adams' first African-American student at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA), now known as the venerable San Francisco Art Institute.

David Johnson used his camera to not only tell his story but to capture images that are so candid and honest that they clearly depict the spirit and mood of the time.

Included in Johnson's artistic vision was his desire to depict people positively in the presence of discrimination, thus capturing the emotions of the Civil Rights movement.  
He has deep roots here in the Bay Area and spent a considerable amount of time in the Fillmore District of San Francisco and even lived in Alameda for a period as he worked at the Alameda Naval Base. Johnson's amazing eye for detail and passion for truth has made him a respected and regarded photographer for over 40 years.  

You will be in awe as you see and hear his story which has been featured in the following film festivals:

The San Diego Black Film Festival
The San Francisco International Women's Film Festival
The Sacramento Film Festival
The Tiburon International Film Festival and the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival

To elevate the experience, the director of the film, Mindy Steiner will also be present to participate in a Q&A. 

Cost: $10. Appetizers will be enjoyed after the first screening and during the Q&A.

A portion of the event proceeds will be donated to Frank Bette Center for the Arts.

Frank Bette Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 26.  
Doors open: 6 p.m.
First screening: 6:30 p.m. 
Second screening: 7:15 p.m.
Q&A with film director, Mindy Steiner to follow. 

Tom Brody April 26, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Comparing negatives with digital: (1) Negatives are very much alive and well. They have not receded into obscurity, that is, in the way the way that vinyl records have receded into obscurity; (2) It is not rare for somebody's hard drive to self-destruct, resulting in years of precious digital pictures becoming permanently lost. This type of loss cannot occur with film; (3) It is easy to misplace a flash drive, or to confuse the flash drive of interest with a dozen others. Negatives are not easily lost; (4) An excellent, first rate 4X5 film camera with lens can be bought for about $3,000. But to buy a digital 4X5 camera, you will need to spend exactly $30,000 (made by Leaf, or made by Phase I); (5) Experts behind the counter at professional camera stores have refused, or declined, to tell me that digital is per se better than film. On the other hand, there are some advantages of digital over film: (1) Digital images cannot be ruined by the hot sun or by airport screening devices. In contrast, film is extremely vulnerable to hot sun and to X-rays; (2) In my experience with printing negatives from an enlarger, and with paying a studio to scan my negatives and paying the studio to print from the scan, it is always the case that a scanned negative gives a SUPERIOR print than printing directly from the negative. (However, I am still not sure if a $4,000 digital camera gives better images than a scanned 35mm film.) Any comments?
Megan April 26, 2012 at 01:14 AM
This is an event we are hosting at Frank Bette Center, not sure on your comment?
Tom Brody April 26, 2012 at 04:55 PM
The title of this news item includes the word, "negatives." It is therefore the case that my comment is sizzingly relevant to the news item. It is my experience, that during first day openings at photography galleries, or photography museums, that about 90% of the people will be talking about their work situation, or about their friends, or about other topics typical of idle chit-chat, that about 5% of the people will be talking about the meaning of the photographs that are being exhibited, and that about 5% of the people will be talking about the technical aspects of the photography on display. It is therefore the case, that my comment will be right on target, to the discussion topics of 5% of the people at this particular exhibition, that is, to the attendees who prefer to discuss the technical aspects of the photographs on display.


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