Ann Mason is a photographer, writer, editor, and teacher who grew up immersed in nature on Puget Sound in Washington State, where she observed salmon runs, rode horses, camped summers on a sand spit featuring an old shipwreck, climbed glaciers in the Olympic Mountains, and had a pet crow named Licorice. She gained an interest in travel and world cultures at an early age, as her father had, in his youth, worked on ships sailing to the Orient, and her mother, an English teacher, had traveled in Europe and lectured on African culture to a women’s club.
This inspired her to study foreign languages in college, including during a year abroad in Germany. While obtaining a BA at Washington State University and an MA and PhD at Cornell University in foreign languages and literatures, she further studied and traveled in Europe, Mexico, South America, and Asia before becoming an assistant professor in the 1970s, teaching European literature at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and at Stanford-in-Germany. Her years teaching at Stanford coincided with an increasing interest in photography due to membership in the Friends of Photography of Carmel, California, a visit to Brett Weston’s studio in Carmel, and the purchase of her first camera, a Hasselblad.
Initially, she photographed nature in California and people during travels abroad. But soon the flourishing of counterculture communities in the foothills around Palo Alto prompted her to document the largest, The Land, which emerged in 1971 from the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence founded by Joan Baez and her husband, celebrated war resister David Harris, and focused on environmentalism and ecology until its end in late 1977, ultimately contributing to the preservation of scenic acreage now known as Monte Bello Open Space Preserve.
After moving to New York in 1978, she photographed the series Wall Street, enrolled in a class at the New School taught by George Tice, and began exhibiting in New York, then took several workshops with landscape photographer Paul Caponigro at the Maine Photographic Workshops in Rockport, Maine, which inspired her to begin photographing with a 5 x 7 view camera.
In 1983, she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she apprenticed with Paul Caponigro, assisted him with darkroom projects like printing the Sunflower Special Edition, and edited texts for his books Megaliths and Seasons, as well as texts for other New Mexico photographers, including Eliot Porter and Beaumont Newhall.
From 1984 to 1994, she continued working as a freelance editor for numerous publishers while photographing in the western United States. She was part of a photography community in Santa Fe that included Paul Caponigro, William Clift, Walter Chappell, Eliot Porter, and Beaumont Newhall; exhibited photography at such venues as the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Center for Photographic Art, Carmel; and won awards for photography, including the Willard Van Dyke Memorial Grant given by the New Mexico Council on Photography and being named a finalist for the Eliot Porter Award given by the same council.
Since 1993, she has photographed in over thirty-seven countries with a 5 x 7-inch view camera to produce two forthcoming books on sacred sites and rituals: Beams of the Spirit and Offerings. She continues to use a view camera and make gelatin silver prints in a traditional darkroom.
Since 1980, she has exhibited widely and participated in symposiums in the United States and abroad at galleries, museums, and educational institutions, such as at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; Center for Photographic Art, Carmel; and Centro Fotografico Alvarez Bravo, Oaxaca, Mexico. Her photographs have been published in various publications, including The New York Times Magazine and Women’s Studies. And her works are represented in numerous public and private collections, including the New Mexico Museum of Art.
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Rockport, Maine.
Selected Solo Exhibitions: University of California Extension, San Francisco; John Nichols Gallery, Santa Paula, California; Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho; University of Colorado, Boulder; Yuen Lui Gallery, Seattle, Washington; Ledel Gallery, New York; Focal Point Gallery, New York; Soho Photo Gallery, New York.
Selected Group Exhibitions and Symposiums: Centro Fotografico Alvarez Bravo, Oaxaca, Mexico; Kyoto Photography Group Exhibition Space, Kyoto, Japan; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, California, shows juried by David Featherstone, Robert Dawson, Leland Rice, Al Weber; Governor’s Gallery of the state of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico; College of Santa Fe(exhibition for Willard Van Dyke Memorial Grant recipients); Lightsource Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Ventura County Museum of History and Art, Ventura, California; John Nichols Gallery, Santa Paula, California; Venture Center, Pescadero, California; Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana(show juried by Ted Orland); New Mexico State Fine Arts Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico; University of New Mexico, Las Vegas; Puck Building, New York (Maine Photographic Workshops juried show); Focal Point Gallery, New York; Queens College, New York (Photo Week Invitational, exhibit and symposium with Roman Vishniac and Helen Levitt).
AWARDS AND HONORS
Willard Van Dyke Memorial Grant, awarded by the New Mexico Council on Photography (jurors, Linda Connor and the council); named finalist for the Eliot Porter Award given by the New Mexico Council on Photography; Maine Photographic Workshops International Competitions (first place, Landscape category; second place, Black and White Photography category); Collectors’ Fine Print Program participant, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, California.
Portfolio in The New York Times Magazine with text by David Harris, “The Land Community,” 1979); Annual Awards Catalog, Maine Photographic Workshops; Center for Photographic Art Newsletter, Carmel, California; portfolio in Focal Point Gallery: A Ten-Year Retrospective, Focal Point Press, New York; portfolio in Viewfinder, Focal Point Press, New York; portfolio in A Shout in the Street: Queens College Journal of the Arts, Queens College Press, New York; portfolio in Women’s Studies, Gordon & Breach Publishers, Great Britain.
Numerous private and public collections, including the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe.
Australia, 2004; Bolivia, 2012; Brazil, 2012; Burma, 1996, 1998, 2007, 2014; Cambodia, 1996, 2003; China, 2002; Chile, 2001; Easter Island, 2001; Egypt, 2000; Ethiopia, 2018; France, 2006; Greece, 1994; Guatemala, 2001; Honduras, 2001; India, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2019; Indonesia, 1998, 2009; Ireland, 1993; Italy, 2006; Israel, 2000; Japan, 2002, 2007, 2015; Jordan, 2000; Laos, 2017; Lithuania, 2016; Mali, 2005; Mexico, 2011; Morocco, 2005; Nepal, 1998, 2008, 2010, 2014; Papua New Guinea, 2004; Peru, 2001, 2012; Scotland, 2006, 2009, 2016; South Korea, 2017; Spain, 2016; Syria, 2000; Taiwan, 2015; Thailand, 1996, 1998, 2009, 2017; Turkey, 1995, 2006; Vatican, 2006.