Don Abelson by Ron Rigge

Don Abelson was a classic example of the West Coast black and white landscape photographer, following in the tradition of those with whom he studied – Ansel Adams, Morley Baer and John Sexton. Working exclusively with 4×5 and 8×10 cameras, he perfected his compositional and darkroom craft, seeking out intimate landscapes and close-ups close to home, as well as the familiar haunts of Yosemite and the Eastern Sierras.

In his later years, Don was an early & enthusiastic convert to digital photography. He digitized many of his negatives, older & more recent ones alike, and with a dedicated printer, he learned to make ink prints that were indistinguishable from his early silver prints.

Don did not have an extensive family to handle the job of preserving his many images. In considering his options for this body of work, he arrived at a solution perfectly suited for him. He donated or gifted many works to the professional people assisting him in his later years. Doctors, dentists, and financial advisors now display his images in their offices. A favorite restaurant is graced with his work, and a few friends were bequeathed some pieces.

Upon passing, Don felt content that in this way, his life’s passion had been passed down for others to enjoy.

–By Ron Rigge