Ray McSavaney passed away on July 2, 2014
This web site is being maintained to allow viewers to be inspired by Ray's remarkable photographs.
Ray's close friends are working to preserve Ray's photographic legacy,
and place his photographic archive at an appropriate institution,
where it can be appreciated far into the future.
Special thanks to those that have offered their good wishes,
along with donations small and large,
to help with the endeavor.
If you would like to make a contribution to help with this effort,
you may send a check in any amount to:
Friends of Ray
c/o John Sexton Photography
P.O. Box 30
Carmel Valley, California 93924 U.S.A.
Copies of Ray McSavaney's award winning monograph, Explorations
are available for purchase at the Ventana Editions online store.
From now until December 31, 2014 Ventana Editions will donate 100% of the net profit
from the sale of Ray's book Explorations to the "Friends of Ray" fund.
To learn more about Ray McSavaney follow the link below to read a tribute to Ray by his longtime friend John Sexton.
Ray McSavaney - Photographic Statement
My photography was initially composed of only one subject, the landscape. The aim of my photography was to document the areas that I was either hiking in or backpacking through. Photographing the landscape was a form of escapism from the profession of urban planning that occupied most of my time. Going to the Ansel Adams Workshops for the first time in 1972 and coming in contact with photographers that worked with other subjects began to generate an interest in working with additional subjects and exploring qualities that went beyond the surface characteristics. Gradually the backpacking decreased and the photography became more important. The camera became a tool to adjust the reality that most people see and introduce other meanings by refining my technique and ideas to reflect other concerns. As my darkroom work improved, I was able to further change the emphasis of my images. Rather than making one statement, the image became a springboard for the viewer to explore some of my thoughts or bring their own background into the conversation. At that point, the normal comprehension of beauty and subjects that are not considered attractive was reevaluated. At urban workshops, I was able to take participants to areas under the bridges of the Los Angeles River where some homeless people lived and others dumped their trash. The participants often wondered why we were stopping at such a place and couldn't wait to leave for the next location. However, they soon realized that an exceptional quality of light existed and the structural forms could be worked with in ways that they had not considered. When it was time to go to the next location, it was usually hard to get people to leave.
My photography continues to explore different subjects, based on my background and I am now realizing how various aspects of my background are coming together to define the direction of my photography. My training at the college level in architecture and other types of design have helped to form my sense of visualization, an understanding of space and a comprehension of the steps that are required to go from the initial reaction to the final statement in the form of a mounted photograph. My professional background in urban planning required bringing together several disciplines - design, political feasibility, engineering constraints and the the project's relationship to it's surroundings - also results in the way that I assemble an image. Usually there is a main object or an atmosphere that attracts my attention. I then move around to find the location that best relates that object to it's surroundings and expand the view until objects no longer relate.
The botanical studies result from an early interest in gardening and the way that plants develop, sometimes in unusual ways. The life process takes place in a relatively short period of time, a year, a season or even a few day for cut flowers and then changes occur as they begin to die and dry in unexpected ways as accidental defects change the subject into an exciting and luminous image via the photographic process. At this stage in my life, I have become also interested in the aging process as accidental actions change and enhance or destroy expected results. These seemingly accidental actions can be seen on the canyon walls in the Southwest, the staining and grafitti that accumulate in the bridges over the Los Angeles River, and the aging of flowers and backgrounds that I use behind the botanical studies.
My background is in traditional film-based photography with only short visits into the digital world. This web site is the first full scale experience in the digital world. I have been working with Photoshop and other programs and digital equipment to assemble the material for this site in conjunction with SiteWelder.com. So, this is a work in progress and I expect that there will be many changes in the future as I get used to the process. I already have ideas and the images for two addtional galleries, which should go up before long, if my energy holds up. If I were to have waited until everything was perfect and I was completely satisfied with the results, the site may never have been launched.