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John Yang

1933-2009

John Yang (1933-2009), an architect by trade, had a lifelong dedication to photography. His subjects included the architecture and streets of New York City and its suburbs as well as the landscape of the Hudson Valley. John Yang grew up admiring first the Pictorialists and later the adherents of straight photography, whose work he discovered through MoMA publications. While attending Harvard, Yang traveled to California to take a course with Minor White, where he learned view camera technique and Ansel Adams’s Zone System. Yang entered professional practice as an architect and made pictures for himself when he could, which eventually led to an acquisition by MoMA and the inclusion of his work in exhibitions there and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1978, Yang retired from his architectural practice and devoted himself to photography, using traditional camera equipment and historic darkroom processes. Yang published three books of his photographs, Over the Door: The Ornamental Stonework of New York (Princeton Architectural Press, 1995), Mount Zion: Sepulchral Portraits (D.A.P., 2001), and Indian Ladder: A Lyric Journey (Albany Institute of History and Art, 2007).
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