A Look Through the Lens of Ira Latour

Under the Influence

Slamming the Word

Protecting a Piece of the Planet



Photography is in Ira Latour's genes. His grandfather was the youngest American daguerreotypist before the Civil War, and his father was a photographer in San Francisco prior to the 1906 earthquake. He got his first camera in 1928 and has been shooting ever since.

Latour was in Ansel Adams' first class of the photography department at the California School of Fine Arts in 1945. He has been associated with Edward and Brett Weston, Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Wynn Bullock, and John Gutmann, among others. Based in Paris in 1950, Latour chronicled the rebuilding of Europe for the Marshall Plan and later for the European Command Headquarters. He taught photography at San Francisco State before returning to Europe to direct Media Film. In 1968, he became a professor of art history at California State University, Chico.

Now retired, he was a 1999 Ansel Adams Research Fellow at the University of Arizona's Center for Creative Photography. He is also producing a series on Northern California artists, and with colleagues Cameron Macauley and William Heick, mounting a show, Faces and Figures of the 20th Century: Famous, Infamous and Obscure. At age 80, he has projects for the next 40 years.

Editor's note: Last fall, the University Art Gallery hosted Faces and Figures, from which these photos were selected. The exhibition was curated by Jason Tannen, gallery curator. Latour will join four other local photographers—Tinne Barros, Juri Brilts, Marisa Brilts, and Kicking Horse Edward Buie—in Indians and Cowboys, running March 15-April 16 at the Chico Art Center.


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