Robert Kolbrener had a lifelong commitment to traditional, analogue photography that became a professional commitment when he encountered the photography of Ansel Adams in Adams’ gallery in Yosemite National Park in 1968. Within the next ten years, he became a student of Ansel Adams and in 1977 was invited to be an instructor, along with Yousuf Karsh, at Adams’ Yosemite workshop. Since then, Kolbrener’s commitment to the tradition of “straight” photography has never wavered. His focus is on the “inherent qualities of space, scale and quietude of the Great American West,” especially in Yosemite National Park.
In the meantime, Kolbrener and his wife set up a photography business in St. Louis, structured to allow them to work five months and take the next month off to return to Yosemite and the Great American West. He has noted that these nomadic experiences allowed him ample time to develop an ongoing body of work of substance and diversity.
Kolbrener is quick to point out that there is no use of computers or multiple imagery, and no print or negative enhancement such as bleaching or intensification. He wants it understood that all of his photographs “are made in the Great American West using 2 ¼” and 8 x 10” cameras. I print up to 40 x 50 inches the “old fashioned way” using fiber based paper, tray processing and selenium toner. My goal is to produce prints which truly celebrate those most exciting photographic moments!”
Kolbrener has retired to live in California and to continue full time his photographic quest in the Great American West.