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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Roger Camp

Born: Roger Ortho Camp 
Dates:  1945, 19 February -
Born:  US, WA, La Crosse
Active:  Global
Contemporary American photographer and educator. 
Artist statement: 
My work represents a means of exploration in a world unconstrained by physical boundaries. Aesthetic obsessions have a way of following one throughout life. I have seized upon those verities made apparent to me and attempted to make them my own through my work. Reflected in my work is a literary past, a link to painting and a passion for nature. As a result, my work, regardless of its overt subject matter, relies upon form, color and light. It also serves as a means of self discovery. While these discoveries sometimes surprise me, they never fail to reveal to me some truth about myself.

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Roger Camp
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A lifetime in photography has been divided between working inside a studio and documentary photography. Camp’s passion for travel dates from the age of fifteen when he planned and executed a transcontinental bicycle trip from California to Ohio, documenting his travels with a Kodak instamatic camera. This month long journey was repeated the following summer by a 45 day journey from Los Angeles to Victoria, British Columbia. Even so, Camp dates his first serious photograph to an image he took of Yosemite Falls at the age on ten. The photo was taken while perched high up in a tree with the falls framed between the branches and the mist.
Roger Camp was born in La Crosse, Washington in 1945. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in English and the intention of becoming a poet. After taking a master’s degree in literature at the University of Texas, he accepted a teaching post at Eastern Illinois University. He continued to write poetry, seeing a number of his poems published in “little magazines” while simultaneously photographing abandoned farms and dying towns in the depressed Illinois countryside. He began submitting his photographs to the same “little magazines,” and found his work being widely accepted. His photographs of Illinois were exhibited in his first solo show at Eastern Illinois’ Sargent Gallery in 1970.
Feeling that he had to choose between poetry and photography, he decided on the latter.
Camp returned to graduate school in photography at the University of Iowa. While at Iowa, he made his first trip abroad, spending a month photographing people. This was to be his last work in black and white photography. In his last semester at Iowa, Camp took his first class in color photography and from that point forward, this was his chosen medium. At the time there was a strong institutional bias against color photography. The art world associated it with commercial photography and the galleries balked at the lack of an archival color process even if they accepted photography as art, an issue hotly debated at the time. While a graduate student, Camp had his first solo show of experimental color work involving the projection of abstract paintings on nude figures at the Image Gallery in New York.
In 1974 Camp accepted a teaching position in literature and photography at the Columbus College of Art and Design. He remained there for two years photographing in color the seedier areas of downtown Columbus, Ohio. His color work was show at numerous regional art centers, including the Roanoke Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts in Columbus. In the summer of 1976 Camp returned to Europe discovering for the first time Paris and the villages of rural France. He spent the next thirty-five years traveling abroad extensively, returning to France dozens of times, even teaching American students for two years at the La Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris.
Offered a position in photography at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California in 1977, Camp continues to teach and direct the photography program there.
His return to his home ground resulted in a shift in his work. Influenced by abstract expressionism, he began to photograph the urban landscape as abstractions, the work being compared to field painting by the Los Angeles Times. As a result of this work, he was invited to join the Susan Spiritus Gallery, one of the earliest photography galleries in Southern California. The Huntington Beach pier served as the locus for a fifteen year study of the southern California coastal lifestyle. His “On the Beach” portfolio has been published and exhibited worldwide in over 100 venues. It remains the work most closely associated with Camp. Published in the Aperture book, Swimmers, and exhibited in the Burden Gallery, the work appeared in the book Shoreline: The Camera at Water’s Edge by Graphis, on the cover of the first edition of Exploring Color Photography as well as the cover of the catalog of At the Water’ Edge: American Beach Photography, Tampa Art Museum. The work resulted in Camp being awarded an Leica Medal of Excellence in Documentary Photography in 1992 and the Graphis/Agfa Photo, Sports Photographer of the Year in 1994. This was followed by a Lucie 1st Place in the people category in 2007.
In 1982 Camp began his exploration of flowers underwater which led to a seven month fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts and publication in Flora: A Contemporary Collection of Floral Photography, Graphis, 2002. He continued to photograph flowers in his studio for the next three years culminating in the Water Music portfolio. This was followed by another series of work investigating the nature of light by using prisms as both as a source of color as well as the subject matter. The portfolio was named Light Studies. These images were collected by numerous corporations during the tech boom of the 1990s. In 1998, Camp produced a portfolio of work dealing with the blocked transmission of adult films. This was followed in 2001 by a series of abstractions created with multiple butterfly wings entitled Fallen Angels.
Taking a sabbatical in 2000 to learn Adobe Photo Shop led Camp to his first book, the award winning Butterflies in Flight in 2002. Selling over 27,000 copies, the book was awarded the international printing industry’s highest award, a Benny, for its design and production. It was singled out by NBC’s Today Show, American Photograper magazine and the Associated Press as one of the best photo books of the year. The book, designed by Camp in the accordion fold format, opens to 42 feet displaying 300 of the world’s most beautiful butterflies in simulated flight. This book was followed by 500 Flowers in 2005, another digital photography book.
Camp’s work has been exhibited over 200 times and published in over 150 books and magazines. His work is held in forty-three permanent corporate and public collections, including Coca Cola, Inc., California Museum of Photography, Riverside, Freddie Mac, Packard Foundation, Lucent Technologies, Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Security Pacific National Bank, Het Nederlands Foto Institute, IBM Corp, Ralph Lauren, California Canadian Bank, Bloomingdales and Johnson & Johnson among others.
1993 Center for Creative Imaging, Camden, Maine
1988 Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad (Brazil)
1975 University of Iowa, Iowa City, MA
1976 University of Iowa, Iowa City, MFA
1968 University of Texas, Austin, MA
1967 University of California, Santa Barbara, BA
Solo exhibitions
2007 “Roger Camp,” Yuma Art Museum, Yuma, Arizona
2007 “2? West, 3? East: The Rest of the World,” Art Academy of San Diego, California
2005 “Twenty Years,” J. Moore Gallery, Seal Beach, California
2002 “Butterflies in Flight,” Cypress College, California
1995 “Water Music,” Red Venus Gallery, San Diego
1992 “Primary Color,” Brad Lemery Gallery, San Diego
1990 “On the Beach,” University Art Gallery, University of Alaska, Anchorage
1988 “Post Modern Women,” Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, California
1988 “On the Beach,” New Media Gallery, James Madison University, Virginia
1987 “On the Beach,” Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene
1987 “On the Beach,” Leonard Pearlson Gallery, New York
1987 “A View from the Pier,” Art Gallery, University of Alabama
1986 “On the Beach,” Concourse Gallery, World Headquarters Bank of America, San Francisco
1985 “New China Photographs,” Cityscape Foto Gallery, Pasadena, California
1985 “Contemporary California Artists 25: Roger Camp,” Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California
1984 “Recent Work: Roger Camp,” Fine Arts Gallery, Glendale College, California
1983 “New American Landscapes,” University of Denver, Colorado
1983 “New Work: Roger Camp,” Harrison Art Museum, Utah State University, Logan
1981 “Photographs: Roger Camp,” Rorick Gallery, San Francisco
1981 “Nature Morte,” Southern Light Gallery, Amarillo College, Amarillo, Texas
1980 “Photo Constructions,” Inland Empire Gallery, University of California, Riverside
1980 “Europe Revisited,” Kent Gallery, Radford University, Virginia
1978 “Europe Revisited: A Portrait in Color,” Mills Gallery, Central University, Pella, Iowa
1976 “Photographs from Florence, Italy,” University of Maine, Orono
1976 “Photographs by Roger Camp,” Fine Arts Center, Clinton, Illinois
1976 “Visions of Europe,” Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Maine
1975 “Reflections in a Golden Eye,” Roanoke Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia
1974 “Photo Constructions,” Image Gallery, New York, New York
1974 “Roger Camp: Photographs,” Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, Iowa
1973 “Roger Camp,” Silver Image Gallery, Ohio State University, Ohio
1973 “Roger Camp,” Massillon Museum, Massillon, Ohio
1970 “Roger Camp Photographs,” Paul Sargent Gallery, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
Group exhibitions
2007 “Favorites,” Robin Rice Gallery, New York
2006 “Five Points of View,” Yuma Art Museum, Yuma, Arizona
2006 “A Selection of Portraits from the Doug Simay Collection,” Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, California
2005 “Summertime,” Robin Rice Gallery, New York
2004 “Assignment America,” Kodak Times Square Gallery, New York
2004 “Summertime Salon,” Robin Rice Gallery, New York
2003 “Ocean View,’ Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California
2003 “Retro Show/Twenty Years of Photographers,” International Photography Museum, Oklahoma City
2003 “Summertime,” Robin Rice Gallery, New York
2000 “Fauna III,” Candace Perich Gallery, Katonah, New York
2000 “On the Beach,” Kodak Times Square Gallery, New York
1998 “On the Beach,” Pepper Gallery, Boston
1997 “Ocean View,” California Museum of Photography, Riverside
1995 “Graphistock,” Art Director’s Club, New York
1995 “Gallery Artists,” Robin Rice Gallery, New York
1991 “Swimmers,” Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
1990 “At the Water’s Edge: American Beach Photography,” Tampa Museum of Art, Florida
1989 “Beaches: Sand & Spirit,” Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, California
1988 “American Color,” New Mexico State University, National Traveling Exhibition
1987 “Swimmers,” Burden Gallery, New York
1987 “New Work,” G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Los Angeles
1986 “Visions of China,” Susan Spiritus Gallery, Newport Beach, California
1986 “Industrial Rivers, Industrial Water,” Orange County Center of Contemporary Art, Santa Ana
1986 “1st International Shanghai Photographic Art Exhibition,” China
1985 “Eliot Porter & Roger Camp,” Susan Spiritus Gallery, Newport Beach, California
1985 “American Wilderness,” Chevron Gallery, World Headquarters, Chevron, Inc., San Francisco
1985 “Naked,” University of Denver & Boulder Center for Visual Arts, Colorado
1985 “U.S. Biennial,” Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma
1985 “Quadrille,” Chrysalis Gallery, Claremont, California
1984 “Road Show,” Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Kentucky
1984 “Photography Invitational,’ Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, Oregon
1983 “10 by 10,” Susan Spiritus Gallery, Newport Beach, California
1983 “Unrestricted Color,” Handwerker Gallery, Ithaca College, New York
1982 “U.S. Biennial,” Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Norman
1981 “Magic Siler Show 1981,” Eagle Art Gallery, Murray State University, Kentucky
1980 “Anything 2-D,” University of Wisconsin, Fox Valley
1980 “Diverse Directions II,” Center for Contemporary Art, Beverly Hills, California
1980 “Contacts,” Western Heritage Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
1979 “Photospiva 79,” Spiva Art Center, Joplin, Missouri
1979 “California Photography 1979,” Davidson Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1979 “4th Annual Light Factory National Exhibition,” Charlottesville, Virginia
1979 “Light Images,” Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia
1978 “Three Photographers,” Soho/Cameraworks Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1977 “International Self-Portrait Invitational,” Northlight Gallery, Arizona State University, Tempe
1977 “International Photography Exhibition,” Photokina, Cologne, Germany
1976 “New Photographics 76,” Fine Arts Gallery, Central Washington State University, Ellensberg
1975 “Experimental Photography,” Museum of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio
1974 “Invitational,” U.S.I.A. International Traveling Exhibition, Washington D.C.
1973 “Samuel Parker & Roger Camp,” Laura Musser Art Museum, Muscatine, Iowa
1972 “18th Annual All California Show,” Laguna Beach Museum of Art, California  
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