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Remembering Jody Forster Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

9 January 2021

Jody Forster passed away late last month after heart surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. He was 72.

Forster was born in Chicago in 1948. His father, a native of Florida, was a career Air Force pilot and the family traveled the world with him. Forster graduated from Cal State in Los Angeles with a bachelor's degree in photography in 1971.

After serving in the Armed Forces himself, he attended Ansel Adams's Yosemite workshop and studied with Oliver Gagliani, devoting himself to large format black-and-white landscape photography.

In 1976 he moved to Arizona where his subjects became the Sonoran Desert, the Pinacate Mountains of Mexico and the Superstition Wilderness near Phoenix.

In 1978 he photographed Shiprock, New Mexico, a triangular crag sacred to the Navajo. The three layers of cloud floating in a dark sky above the peak became his most frequently printed image.

Forster joined the American expedition to climb Mt. Himalchuli in the Himalayas in 1984. He packed in 80 lbs. of large format gear to work between 16,000 to 18,000 feet in conditions that were subject to 50 to 100 mph winds. During his nine months in Asia he hiked 500 miles, climbed 150,000 vertical feet and shot in three mountain ranges: the Annapurnas, the Gorkas and the Khumbu.

In 1992 Forster was chosen by the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Program as artist-in-residence, spending three months photographing Antarctica's vast landscape and sailing more than 1,000 miles along the Antarctic peninsula in NSF research vessels.

Impressed with his work, the National Science Foundation invited him back to Antarctica in 1995 to make more photographs.

In addition to Andrew Smith Gallery and Etherton Gallery, the Center for Creative Photography has a collection of his work.

His nephew, Emmy award winning editor Pi Ware, filmed this tribute to him on New Year's Eve:

Discussing the difference between Adams's dramatic compositions and Forster's landscapes, Ware says Forster captured "a sublime synergy between the sky and the earth and the light."

Sublime indeed.

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