Issue #245  10/21/2018
Photographer Henry Wessel Died Sept. 20th from Lung Cancer
Henry Wessel
Henry Wessel

Photographer Henry Wessel died on September 20th at his home in Point Richmond, CA. He had been suffering from lung cancer.

Born in 1942, Wessel's contributions to and accomplishments in the field of photography are innumerable. He was awarded two Guggenheim and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Wessel was also an emeritus professor at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught from 1973-2014.

His first solo museum show was at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1972. He was one of ten artists included in "New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape," a ground-breaking 1975 exhibition at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. He also exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 1998 and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2007.

The Rena Bransten Gallery, who represented Wessel for two decades, says: "We will remember Henry as always with a smile on his face, an enviable positivity, and a zealous lust for life."

Numerous books of Wessel's work have been published, including the five-volume Henry Wessel: California and the West/Odd Photos/Las Vegas/Real Estate Photographs/Night Walk (2005), Henry Wessel: Incidents (2013), and Henry Wessel: Traffic/Sunset Park/Continental Divide (2017). Steidl, plans several additional books, which Wessel recently viewed in proof, according to Bransten.

Wessel was survived by his longtime partner, Calvert Barron, and his son, Nicholas Ryder Wessel.