News and Events


Farewell to 25th Street

To my friends in the photo community,

In the summer of 2010 I noticed a growing group of artist spaces in the uptown area of Oakland. Here were all kinds of workshops and galleries, on one block of 25th Street, showing exciting painting, ceramic art, photography, and mixed media. Sharing the block with car repair shops, the area boomed with First Friday’s free-form street fairs, and the more organized events sponsored by Oakland Art Murmur, of which PHOTO became a member.

For the past five years I have had the honor of working with my partners Henry Bowles and Charles Anselmo in directing a wonderful space to exhibit fine photographs. As our work here comes to its end, I want to thank you for being part of it.

As we originally discussed opening an exhibit space, Henry and I realized that we knew a large number of really good photographers. Remarkably, I have met many more! Well known artists have walked in the door, and photographers unknown to me have brought thoughtful and fantastic imagery to the gallery. It has been a true voyage of discovery.

PHOTO has given me the opportunity to get to know many artists who make this such a vibrant arts community. I cannot think of a more meaningful experience than sharing their work with the curious visitors we welcomed every day.

I could not be prouder of the artists and outside curators we worked with and I look forward to PHOTO’s future, whatever/wherever that may be. I welcome your ideas and participation as we move forward in the coming months. We will continue to show new work online, and send an occasional email newsletter. You can contact us at

None of it could have been possible without the support our helpers, especially Hyeyoung Kim who stepped in for a temporary stint and ended up running the show for our last seven months. It was a real pleasure to depend on Hyeyoung to remember everything, and I will miss having her around. Also big thanks to PHOTO’s previous assistants Erica Ramos and Adam Cardello for their energy and great ideas.

With PHOTO’s closing, I’m looking forward to attending events at galleries I haven’t seen much of over the past five years. I will spend some time working with the Photoalliance board, which I joined in 2015, and seeing what’s happening at the other photography venues in the Bay Area–not to mention the exciting new buildings at SFMOMA and the Berkeley Art Museum.

Now at the end of 2015, we all have an opportunity for a new beginning. I will soon spend six weeks at an artist residency continuing the abstract work I’ve been making for the past year. I am looking forward to the ongoing evolution of photography, wherever it takes me.

With my heartfelt appreciation for all who participated in and came to see our gallery, I wish you and yours a Happy New Year!

Irene Imfeld


Leaving 25th Street at the end of the year.

After five years, PHOTO will close the 25th Street gallery at the end of the year. We thank all the great artists and visitors we have got to know over during the gallery’s time. The website will remain updated and we will continue to use our email. (The phone number will be discontinued.)

Please stay in touch. We will do an occasional mailing to let you know our activities and future plans.




Barbara Kyne Book Signing

FIRST FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4, 6:00 to 9:00

Barbara Kyne will be in the gallery to sign her new book, By Fire. Join us to see thisc imagery of flames and sparks from a fire combined with Kyne’s signature blurry figures. About this  fascinating project, she says,

“This series is created with a digital camera, though not altered digitally in processing. The instant visual feedback allows Kyne to push past surface appearances and use the optics of the camera to expand vision – showing the unexpected, underlying or overlooked. She considers the images to be sensory artifacts that provide a conduit for others to directly experience new perceptions. The photographs are archetypal in that they are simultaneously less and more than their original subject matter and also transcend it. Viewers can project their own experiences onto them and perhaps receive insight for themselves, as some even report has happened.”

Barbara Kyne, By Fire

Barbara Kyne, By Fire


Best Photo Books 2014

John F. Martin, In Character: Opera Portraiture

John F. Martin, In Character: Opera Portraiture

John F. Martin’s “In Character: Opera Portraiture” has been chosen by Elizabeth Avedon as one of the BEST PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS OF 2014.

PHOTO exhibited this imagery in 2012. Since then, a beautiful book has been produced by Amadeus Press. We now have signed copies of this magnificent book available for only $35.


Book Signing with Norma I. Quintana on First Friday, Feb. 6

Circus: A Traveling Life

Circus: A Traveling Life

February 6, 6:00 – 9:00

Circus: A Traveling Life features luminous black and white portraits, reproduced in duotones. It chronicles a ten-year collaboration between Norma I. Quintana and an American, traveling one-ring circus. This haunting and intimate portrait series captures contemplative and playful moments off-stage and in back of the house, as they proudly perfect their craft.

Sally Mann comments, “Norma takes off where my heroes Bruce Davidson, Diane
Arbus and Mary Ellen Mark left off.”


William Wegman picks Irene Imfeld as First Prize Winner

Photographer William Wegman has chosen Irene Imfeld’s image from the Vacant Nests series as Winner of the PhotoAlliance competition. Exhibition opens October 25 at Smith Anderson Gallery, San Anselmo.

Imfeld, Vacant Nests 21-sm


Book Signing with John F. Martin, November 7

John F. Martin will sign copies of his recently published book, In Character: Opera Portraiture, at PHOTO’s First Friday on November 7, 2014.

In Character: Opera Portraiture memorably captures operatic performers away from the audience but fully inhabiting their roles. It showcases the work of John F. Martin, who for years set up a portable studio in the basement of the San Francisco Opera and photographed the players in costume and full makeup right before or after they took the stage. The subjects range from nonsinging supernumeraries through chorus members and comprimarii to opera’s greatest stars, such as Anna Netrebko, Natalie Dessay, Deborah Voigt, Juan Diego Florez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Their roles run the gamut of opera personalities: heroes and heroines, villains and outcasts, royalty and common folk, Biblical figures and creatures of myth. Facing Martin’s camera, each artist projects the essence of his or her character, however great or small the part. The book also features a foreword by author Amy Tan; a preface by David Gockley, general director of the San Francisco Opera; essays on opera behind the scenes, the vital role of costumes, and the transformation of singers into characters; and an interview with world-renowned soprano Danielle de Niese. A collection unlike any other, In Character will have broad appeal-to opera and theater buffs, costume and fashion aficionados, and anyone who appreciates fine art photography.

John F. Martin has been a commercial photographer for more than 30 years. His photographs were included in the show of the Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou at UCLA Fowler Museum and are in its permanent collection, and this work has been published in Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou, edited by Donald J. Cosentino. John’s publications also include a commemorative book of photographs from Amy Tan’s Bonesetter’s Daughter, the Opera. John has studied at New York’s School of Visual Arts, at City College, San Francisco, and at Stanford Continuing Studies, and he has taught at Academy of Art University.



Open Portfolio Night

Three photographers showed portfolios in person on First Friday, October 3, 2014.


Yelena Zhavoronokova’s platinum/palladium prints now available in PHOTO’s office gallery.


Summer Breeze Opening

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PHOTO Photographers at Stanford

Press Release from Dewitt Chang, Curator at Stanford Art Spaces
Stanford Art Spaces is pleased to announce that its May-June 2014 art exhibit will feature the large-format color photographs of Steve Goldband and Ellen Konar, a Portola Valley couple working as a team (as well as independently), and the digital photo collages of Henry Bowles, shown last fall at PHOTO Gallery in Oakland. These elegant, poetic works by master photographers combine personal visions with impeccable craft.
The Pacific Rim Exposures exhibition by Goldband and Konar spans the Pacific, according to the website, In Naoshima, Japan, “a small island in the inland Sea of Japan covered in granite and weathered soil, and the unlikely home to world-class modern art, design and the expansive architecture of Tadeo Ando,” we see architectural interiors raised to the level of lyrical abstraction, “geometries of light, color and structure.” On the eastern edge of the Pacific Plate stands the Neskowin Ghost Forest on Oregon’s coast, “where a strand of ancient fir trees was buried by an earthquake 2,000 years ago. Preserved by salt water, the anthropomorphic profiles of the ancient tree stumps emerge and pose at low tide.” The panoramic Neskowin images suggest Roman-columned Romantic ruins and evoke similar philosophical sentiments. Supplementing these uninhabited photos are earlier photos from Cuba that document that island’s rich colonial architecture, eroded and painterly, and its colorful inhabitants: two brothers, striped to their shorts in the heat, pass time on the street in front of iron-grilled windows; a vibrant young woman, more alluringly dressed than American companies would permit, takes a cigar break at a Partagas factory, while a colleague peers from a tiny cashier’s window that irresistibly suggests a mouse hole; teenaged girls stride along enjoying ice creams, while young men lean against a bar wall, awaiting drink service.
Henry Bowles’s thirty-one digital collages in Matches explore a voluntarily limited subject matter—burning and burnt wooden matches— conceptually, but with feeling and imagination. Bowles: “Transformation by fire is a process with a predictable outcome, but at the same time, one that can be uncertain and surprising. In Matches this concept is layered with details related to personal and cultural transformation. The burning matches are a background reminder of the inevitability and finality of change.” It is, of course, a metaphor for living, and especially for living intensely: “burning with a hard, gemlike flame,” for example, was art critic Walter Pater’s oft-cited goal of the 1890s generation of Oscar Wilde and others. Bowles’ collaged images with their ambiguous, scaleless interweavings of color and texture are evocative contemporary carpe diem images: seize the day while you can. Professor James Travers of the Berkeley Photographic Critical Laboratory poetically interprets the archetypal symbolism, “the private language of artists,” comprising, here, Masonic symbols, skulls, rose petals, tulip blossoms, serpentine forms, wheels, candelabras, starry night skies, checkerboard floors, flags, a Titian Madonna, Zenobia, the queen of Palmyra in Roman times—as well as a Syrian rebel soldier, The Game of Thrones and single-malt whiskeys—all informing and enriching the theme of transmutation and transfiguration.
There will be a reception for the artists on Thursday, May 29, from 4:30 to 7:00pm. The artists and the curator will discuss the work at 6:00. Parking at all university lots and structures is free after 4:00. For more access information, please see attached map or contact the curator (at phone/e-mail listed below).
An artist catalogue on Henry Bowles’ Matches series will be available, as will 16″x20″ exhibition posters for Goldband/Konar and Bowles, printed by Anselmo Image Works of Redwood City.

Stanford Art Spaces is an exhibition program serving the Paul G. Allen Building, housing the Center for Integrated Systems, the program’s longtime sponsor, and the David W. Packard Electrical Engineering Building, with smaller venues located throughout campus. All are open during normal business hours. For further information, or to arrange a tour, please contact Curator DeWitt Cheng at 650-725-3622 or

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