About The Artist
As a Western Canadian photographer, the subject matter I am passionate about addresses primarily, but not exclusively, the landscapes of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta and British Columbia, as well as images from the national parks of Montana, Utah, Arizona, California, the Four Corners Region, and European architecture, especially cathedrals and places of spirit.
Since 1975 the majority of my work has been the handcrafting of these images as fine art black and white prints for exhibitions nationally and internationally. However, for the last 20 years, I have chosen to express these images in the medium of the handcrafted platinum/palladium print because this classic process more fully reveals the entire original tonal scale.
It conveys a sense of three-dimensionality, and enables me to convincingly translate the elements of space, water, atmosphere, and land with a delicacy unattainable with any other process. In other words, from the viewer’s perspective, it creates a sense of presence. Images in platinum in some respects resemble the tonality and atmosphere of those late 19th-century monochrome images, and the timeless ethereal quality of a platinum print is very much suited to landscapes, architecture and portraiture.
My preference is to photograph with large-format view cameras utilizing sheet films ranging in size from 8″ X 10″, 7″ X 17″, 8″ X 20″ up to and including the ultra-large 12″ X 20″. I chose these formats because of their exaggerated rectangles, which extend the sweeping narrative of the landscape, and because it most effectively articulates the way I see the world. And, from the viewer’s perspective, it invites a different way of seeing, more like a journey through a new land. The view camera also has the unsurpassed ability to control perspective and capture the greatest amount of detail.
My inspiration to produce these photographs comes from knowing that modern visions and interpretations of time and place supported by historical processes such as platinum printing can produce very compelling imagery as reality is raised to an abstraction. A synthesis of ultra-large format 12″ X 20″ view camera photography with the platinum print impacts the viewer directly by articulating a vast sweeping narrative. Thus, the imagery itself, the platinum printing process to support this imagery and the technique to capture it on film are combined to produce bold and compelling visual statements. That one will want to keep viewing this classic imagery time and time again to relive the Rocky Mountain experience of what was seen and felt by the photographer is the defining characteristic of my work.
Allan King's Biography
Allan W. King is a professional photographer who crafts classic images in silver gelatin, platinum and colour using traditional and antiquarian processes. Following the establishment of his photographic enterprise in Bangkok, Thailand some 30 years ago, Allan pursued corporate/commercial, industrial, portrait, food and fashion photography as well as fine art photography in SE Asia, India and China. Upon settling back into his hometown Calgary, Alberta some 20 years ago, Allan has expanded his portfolios to include much of Western Canadian and South Western United States landscapes.
Born in Calgary, Alberta, Allan studied Chemistry at the University of Calgary, where he received his BSc in Chemistry in 1973 before studying at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario where he received his MSc in 1976 and Ph.D. in 1979 in Mining Engineering.
Allan had always pursued fine art photography first as a hobby as a young teen and then as a business while studying at university. 1979 proved to be a watershed year for his career when Ansel Adams appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. Displayed inside were his iconic images of Moonrise, Clearing Winter Storm, Half Dome, to name a few. Large-format photography from that point on became both a passion and obsession. The works of photographers such as Yousef Karsh, Henri Cartier Bresson, Eugene Smith, Elliot Erwitt, Ruth Bernhard, Lois Connor, Paul Caponigro, Paul Strand, Frederick Evans, George Tice and Irving Penn were formative as he developed his way of seeing the world through the lens.
Frederick Evan’s platinum prints of cathedrals in England and Wales proved to be especially inspiring, and it was the platinum print in particular which became for Allan THE medium to showcase his best work, as it’s tonality, depth and historical feel are unsurpassed by any medium. Irving Penn once said compared to the ubiquitous black and white print, printing in platinum is like adding another dozen keys to a piano’s keyboard while striking all the keys with greater nuance.
Allan eventually met Phil Davis in 1999 and under his tutelage studied advanced printing techniques at his studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His mentor on black and white printing and the BTZS film development technique for many years, Allan remained in contact with Phil up to his death in 2007. Both Phil Davis and Ansel Adams believed that before you can be a good photographer you must be a good printer, for only then can you fully appreciate the subtle interplay and gradation of tones which constitute an image, and how to match the density range of a negative with the possible exposure scales of the paper to create these tones. Allan also took John Sexton’s workshop “The Expressive Black and White Print” in 2015 which helped to fine-tune much of what he had learned from Phil Davis.
Photography with a 30 pound ultra large-format Lotus 12 X 20 view camera soon became Allan’s signature camera because of its ability to articulate a sweeping narrative within the “Golden Rectangle.” These large-format images in platinum and silver are remarkable for their detail and unusual size, and reflect a dedication to the craft of traditional print making.
Photographs In Publications
Travel Alberta 2002 Travel Planner, Cover Photograph (Spirit Island, Jasper National Park AB. • Canada; Actualite; Sept 2001: In Tibet – A Quest • Switzerland; Ringier S. AR: October 1998: Phuket • North Carolina; May 1997 Thai Puppeteer Joe Louis • Brazil; Block Editore: December 1996; In Tibet – A Quest • U.S.A; TIME Magazine: September 1995: The Opium Fields of Thailand • Thailand; Caravan: September 1994: A Day In The Life Of HH The XI Dali Lama • France: Grands Report: June 1994: Tibet • Denmark; Nordfoto: December 1995 In Tibet – A Quest • England; Premier Magazine: January 1996: Thailand’s Longest Reign Celebration • England; Cosmopolitan: February 1996: Traditional Thai Ceremony • Sweden; Borforlaget: July 1996: Loy Krathong Water Festival • France; Madam Figaro: April 1996: Roi Bhumibol • India; Cho Yang: February 1992: Pilgrams at Mt. Kailash, Tibet • India; Kasturi: January 1991: Thailande • Germany; Frau Mit Herz: April 1991: King of Thailand Sailing At Hua Hin • Denmark; Express: July 1991: Water Buffalo Races • England: TV Quick: August 1991: Giant Catfish of the Mekong • Thailand: The King of Thailand in World Focus; Foreign Correspondence Club Of Thailand; 1988
- Bangkok, Thailand; Twilight At Angkor: November 1991
- Bangkok, Thailand: Canadian Wilderness Images: April 1997
- Banff Alberta, Whyte Museum: Platinum Images Of Tibet; October 12, 2001 – January 16, 2002
- Edmonton, AB, McMullin Gallery: Places Of Spirit- Images In Platinum: August 26 – October 21, 2002
- Calgary, AB, Paul Khun Gallery: Allan W. King: Selected Works In Platinum: Sept 14 – Oct 4, 2002
- Banff AB, Banff Centre: Mountain Peoples Of South East Asia- Images In Platinum: Nov 24, 2002 – April 14, 2003
- Calgary AB, Devonian Gardens Gallery: The Art Of Perception Landscapes In Platinum: Oct 1 – 30, 2003
- Calgary AB, Collins Barrow: Selected Works In Platinum & Silver: November 8 – 28, 2003
- Calgary AB, Sun Life Plaza: Platinum Landscapes Of Western Canada & South West U.S.A: Jan 9 – Feb 29, 2004
- Edmonton AB, Visual Arts Association Of Alberta Gallery: Platinum Perceptions: May 6 – June 12, 2004
- Edmonton, AB, Royal Alberta Museum,: Timeless Beauty Of Platinum: November 3, 2006 – January 18, 2007 (Selected works of large 12 X 20 platinum prints by Canadian photographer Allan King were displayed from November 3, 2006 until January 18, 2007 in the 88-foot long Orientation Gallery of the Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alberta. While primarily a photographer of Canadian Rocky Mountain landscapes, some of Allan’s architectural work was also displayed, including images which were produced from 2003 to 2005 while working on a project documenting Alberta’s cultural and historical heritage made possible through a grant from the Alberta Foundation For The Arts.)
- Calgary AB, Sun Life Plaza: Selected Works In Platinum: April 3 – May 18, 2015
- Calgary, AB, Scotia Centre Office Tower Lobby: A Visual Journey Through The Canadian Rockies: December 15, 2014 – June 15, 2015 (A Collection Of Ten 1 M X 2 M Silver Gelatin Enlargements)
- Calgary, AB, Scotia Centre Office Tower Lobby: Canada’s Magnificent Landscapes: June 15, 2015 – December 15, 2015 (A Collection Of Ten 1 M X 2 M Silver Gelatin Enlargements)
- Canmore Art Guild Gallery, Canmore, Alberta: Allan King Platinum Photographs: November 14 – 24, 2015 (Silver Gelatin Enlargements of Heinrich Harrer and HH The XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet.)
- Canmore Art Guild Gallery, Canmore, Alberta : Rocky Mountain Panoramas: April 29 – May 9, 2017 (Ten 1 M X 2 M Silver Gelatin Enlargements)
- As part of Alberta’s 2005 Centennial Celebrations, The Edmonton Art Gallery held a Travelling Exhibition (TREX) of Allan King’s 12″ X 20″ platinum works along with 5 other photographers. Entitled “Camera In Hand,” this exhibition travelled throughout Alberta until September, 2007.
- Canmore Art Guild Gallery, Canmore, Alberta: Exposure 2015 – The Portrait: January 31 – February 17, 2015 (Silver Gelatin Enlargements of Heinrich Harrer and HH The XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet.)
- Canmore Art Guild Gallery, Canmore, Alberta; Group Show: March 21 – April 17, 2015 (Two 1 M X 2 M Silver Gelatin Enlargements of Canada’s and U.S landscapes.)
- Canmore Art Guild Gallery, Canmore, Alberta: Christmas Show: December 15, 2018 – January 3, 2019 (Silver Gelatin Enlargements of Canada’s Rocky Mountains.)
Work Held In Collections
- Leicashop, Vienna, Austria; October, 1999; One 8″ X 20″ Platinum Print Of Castle Mountain, Banff National Park, Alberta
- Alberta Foundation For The Arts, Edmonton AB; April 2001: Three 12” X 20” Platinum Prints (Landscapes of SW US)
- Post Hotel, Lake Louise AB; December 2002: Eight 12″ X 20” Platinum Prints (Landscapes Of The Canadian Rockies)
- Alberta Foundation For The Arts, Edmonton AB; October 2003; One 12” X 20” Platinum Print (Goess Brewery, Leoben, Austria)
- Whyte Museum Of The Canadian Rockies, Banff, AB; May, 2018; 1 M X 2 M Silver Gelatin Print (Sunrise On Lake Louise, AB)