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Tony Hertz makes his presence felt again in Camera USA show


Among the photographers juried into the 2019 Camera USA National Photography Exhibition on view through July 5 in the ground floor galleries of the Naples Art Association is former National Photography Award winner Tony Hertz. This year’s entry is titled Dune Anatomy No. 16. It’s a picture of the rolling sand dunes in California’s Oceano Sand Dunes Nature Preserve.

Hertz took top honors in the Camera USA 2013 competition with an imaged titled Gnarled Wave. He also had images juried into both the Camera USA 2015 and 2017 shows.

Gnarled Wave was chosen as best of the 2013 show by a panel of esteemed judges that consisted of world-renowned photojournalist Harry Benson, (then) Bob Rauschenberg Gallery Director Ron Bishop and photographer Christopher Rauschenberg. Hertz normally employs long exposure photography to capture his black and white images, but he went the other direction to capture Gnarled Wave. Setting his camera to ISO 3200 to obtain a high shutter speed with maximum depth of field, he shot the photograph using Live View through a waterproof bag. “Drying off the outside lens often, awkward camera positions and tight finger space were some of my main challenges,” explained Tony at the time.

Hertz’s 2015 entry, Sea Cave Splash, shares many of the sensibilities and attributes as Gnarled Wave, but his 2017 photo, Fence Study, more closely resembles Dune Anatomy No. 16, which focuses on an assemblage of vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines and planes.

In a world filled with color, Hertz appreciates the simplicity of black-and-white photography, which he characterizes as a more instinctual medium than color photography.

“The challenge and discovery in making simple compositional elements in black and white and color deepens my personal meanings to nature,” Hertz says. “To me, nature is like a sanctuary, a place apart. My intention is to photograph what is felt and not often seen. I make images instinctively. I enjoy capturing those moments that evoke mystery, mood and beauty, and sharing them.”

Tony uses a 4×5/8×10 aspect ratio when composing his work. He feels this facet lends itself to a more fluid balance and increases compositional opportunities when arranging vertical and horizontal scenes.

Hertz has more than 30 years of professional photography experience with 10 years as a daily newspaper photographer in California, photographing everything from U.S. Presidents, the Queen of England, Pope Paul, celebrities, musicians, famous sports figures and major news and community events.

“Working as a photojournalist helped refine my compositional instincts when I turned to focus mainly on landscape and nature subjects for personal and fine art photography work,” Hertz shares.

His award-winning photography has been widely published, with worldwide credits including Time Magazine, Los Angeles Times, New York Times Magazine, USA Today, National Geographic WORLD, Sunset Magazine, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and the Christian Science Monitor.

When he’s not out in the field shooting, he’s likely spending time in a traditional wet darkroom editing images from a recent photo trip or teaching photography for the Cuesta College Fine Arts Department in San Luis Obispo, California.

July 1, 2019.

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