Friday, March 9th, 2018 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Hiking The John Muir Trail, 1970

“In the summer of 1970, I backpacked the 222-mile length of the John Muir Trail with my buddy, John Astor. We started at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley on the 4th of July, and reached the summit of Mt. Whitney on July 25th. These were the days before the Muir Trail, and the then non-existant Pacific Crest Trail, were Vibram sole super highways. We didn’t need any permits to hit the trail, and on a typical day we’d encounter only 2 or 3 other parties of hikers. We trekked through terrain varying from meadows of tall grass marshes and wildflowers, to barren granite passes high above timberline. We carried a small tent, but except for one night of rain and another of clouds of ravenous mosquitos, slept out under the stars each night. 

In 1970 I had only been a serious photographer for two years, but during that time had concentrated solely on large format black and white. I knew an extended backpack trip was no place to be lugging a 4×5 view camera, so decided to make this hike my “self-education” in shooting color slides. I supplied myself with rolls of all four Kodak 35mm transparency films of the day: Kodachrome II; Kodachrome X; Ektachrome X; and High Speed Ektachrome. For a couple of years following 1970, I had a Kodak Carousel slideshow of this trip that I gave on numerous occassions. Sometime around 1973, that carousel went into a file cabinet, and sat unnoticed for over 40 years. This last spring I rediscovered that carousel of 140 John Muir Trail slides. Many were faded, some were scratched, and all of them were dusty. Some of that dust had sunk into the film’s emulsion, and was impervious to canned air or a camel hair bush. 

I scanned 82 of the best of these slides, and after hundreds of hours in Photoshop rejuvenating the color and cloning out the dust and blemishes, the images are now in their best shape since coming out of the camera 48 years ago. One might even argue that, given the ‘fine-tuning’ capabilities digital manipulation has made possible, they are now better than they ever were. Please join me on this amble along the crest of the High Sierra, nearly a half century after the fact.” ~ Mark Citret

Symposium Session Details

Symposium Speaker

Mark Citret has been a photographer and photo educator for over 40 years, specializing in architectural and landscape photography. His work is represented in prominent galleries and in the collections of major museums across the US. In the 1970s he lived and photographed for 2 years in upstate New York, creating a body of work published in the book Halcott Center: a Catskill Mountain Valley, with an introduction by Ansel Adams. His other books are a retrospective monograph: Along the Way (with an introduction by Ruth Bernhard), and a Monterey Museum catalogue: Signs Taken for Wonder. Some other projects he has worked on over the years are “Architecture in the National Parks” (1980s), “Coastside Plant”, a huge construction site in the southwest corner of San Francisco (1990-93), and for the last 12 years has been documenting the construction of the University of California San Francisco’s Mission Bay Campus. He is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mark Citret / Symposium Speaker