“My father had an “instinctual attitude about light” which made his light meter superfluous. His technical knowledge was such that a battered Nikkormat camera, marked with pink nail polish to adjust for its timing quirks, could produce images to rival almost any photographer’s using superior equipment.”
Michael Ashley, CTO at CoDA, Chuck Ashley’s elder son
GOAL Charles Wilcoxson Ashley, known as Chuck to friends, family and colleagues, was a professional photographer and a photography teacher. He passed away on June 30, 2011 at age 88 with a dream: to print a book of his photography. “Charles W. Ashley - Fifty Years of Photography, 1940 - 1990” realizes Chuck’s dream and hopefully will help reveal the art of a great photographer.
BACKGROUND In the Spring of 2011, Chuck's son Michael, his wife Cinzia, and a team of interns from the Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA) set out to accomplish Chuck's dream of printing a book of his works. Going through his rich archive of slides, films, negatives, and prints, provided Chuck a thrilling passion and interest during the challenging last months of his life. Even with declining faculties and physical abilities, the idea of working on his book gave him joy and hope, instilling a new sense of purpose in his remaining days. Chuck reviewed his photographs, selecting his favorites and providing descriptions for his book, until the end on June 30, 2011.
INTEREST OF CHUCK’S PHOTOGRAPHY Chuck photographed food, wine, architecture, art and models throughout his career from the 1940's-1990's. His photography provides glimpses into the styles and social affordances over the past half century, from post-WWII through the free culture movement of the 60's and 70's and beyond to the economic rise of the 80's and 90's.
In our post-film digital age, it may be hard to imagine a time when commercial photography shoots took days of planning and hours of pre-production staging before a few clicks of the shutter brought team's efforts to a successful conclusion.
Chuck was the magician behind the ground glass, often working intensively with the studio stylists and magazine editors to assure that the shared photographic expectations were realized to the highest levels of satisfaction.
WHAT WE WILL DO The Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA) will continue to lead and support all efforts needed to make this book happen. CoDA guarantees the highest professional quality of all products that will come out from this initiative, which use fair processes and pay meticulous attention to the preservation of digital records. The Center will make available equipment, expertise, and personnel. Very little of Chuck’s archive has been digitized so far. Piles of materials need lots of love and professional digitization work, together with descriptions and contextual information. The digital files will go into a catalog, where we will create captions and metadata and select the best of Chuck's work for publication. The book design and layout will be the last step of the process. The funds will be spent on equipment (such as a good scanner for negatives), to pay our team and a professional layout designer, and, of course, to provide you people of Kickstarter with what we have promised!
NOTE TO THE PLEDGES All products will be marked with a CoDA certificate of original work and authenticity. It is important to know that CoDA is a Non Profit company, therefore pledges for this project are tax deductible, minus the value of rewarded goods (as per tax law). Shipping costs are included in the rewards.
CHARLES ASHLEY'S BIO Chuck’s career as a photographer spanned about 50 years, mostly in San Francisco and Sausalito. During his 25 years working alongside Fred Lyon, he created distinctive images for publications like House & Garden, LIFE, and the New Yorker.
Chuck’s older son Michael, CTO at CoDA, says his father had an “instinctual attitude about light” which made his light meter superfluous and that his technical knowledge was such that a battered Nikkormat camera, marked with pink nail polish to adjust for its timing quirks, could produce images to rival almost any photographer’s using superior equipment. Chuck’s four children remember his ingenious darkroom inventions with agitated developer baths, quick-dried negatives, or aided dodging and burning with odd shapes on sticks while he printed black and white images; simple, practical solutions which he built because he could.
After his partnership with Lyon, Chuck worked for his own commercial photography clients like Heath Ceramics and EvaWare and did carpentry before becoming a near-legendary photography instructor at City College of San Francisco. Chuck taught with dedication and care, often challenging the school administration to better serve his students. He originated the Large Format Studio Photography Class which many of his students took multiple times in order to fully absorb his expertise. Former students mention his “MacGyver toolbox” with which he could solve any problem or create any desired effect. He was known for his generosity, lending his own photographic equipment to encourage his students to pursue their own work, and for his loyalty; many of his students became friends of his long after classes had ended.
However this project will go, Chuck's children Ann, Eden, Michael, and Jon, would like to thank all people at CoDA for their support and help so far and thank in advance all those who will decide to back this project.
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10x8” hardback copy of the book signed by the CoDA team and access to the digital collection. Your name acknowledged in the contributors section of the book and on the CoDA website. AND the $50 reward.
13x11” hardback copy of the book signed by the CoDA team and access to the digital collection. Your name acknowledged as a Silver-level supporter in the contributors section of the book and on the CoDA website. AND the $50 reward.
Two 13x11” hardback copies of the book signed by the CoDA team and access to the digital collection. Your name acknowledged as a Gold-level supporter in the contributors section of the book and on the CoDA website. AND two $50 rewards.
The $1000 reward. AND a day long workshop on digital photography and post-processing at the Center for Digital Archaeology with a free consultation to plan and kickstart YOUR photography project if you have one. Travel expenses are not included and virtual is always a possibility.