VAUGHN HUTCHINS has been photographing for the past 25 years. In 1981, he graduated with a B.S. degree in Natural Resources Management from Humboldt State University, and effectively a minor in darkroom technique.
Beginning in 1991, and to the present time, Vaughn works for the Art Department of Humboldt State University in charge of the operation and maintenance of the university darkroom. While he has no official teaching duties, a good amount of his time is spent one-on-one with students, helping them with all facets of photography. He has taught for several photographic workshop programs, and regularly conducts carbon printing and platinum printing workshops for HSU students. During the summers,
he teaches a two-week photo class to high school students for the HSU Art Academy.
Vaughn works primarily with the carbon printing process…a process from the first days of photography. Carbon printing is a labor-intensive, hand-made process, which yields a very beautiful, full-range print that has a raised relief surface. The process is relatively simple, but its flexibility allows Vaughn to best express the light he finds under the Redwoods and in Yosemite Valley.
“My most successful photographs are those whose subject is the light falling on the landscape. To capture the essence of light filtering down through centuries of redwood growth is more important to me than finding a particularly gnarly redwood to record photographically. Translating the light bouncing off the ancient granite walls and down into Yosemite Valley is more interesting to me than recording the grand landscape.
I began working with the carbon printing process in 1992. I found it to be a wonderful process to express light. It is a simple, but time-intensive, process. One’s choice of materials and methods greatly alters the final image. I use this flexibility of the process to find the best way to express the feeling of the light to the viewers of my photographs.
There is no enlargement possible with the carbon process. The prints are the same size as the negatives and are “straight” prints…no burning, dodging, or cropping. This forces me to see more intently in the field…I must find the light and capture it just as I want it to appear in the photograph. No digital or darkroom “tricks” to save a badly seen image. In fact, I find photographing to be an intense lesson in seeing. I’m still learning.”