Laszlo Layton (Aberican, b. 1959)
Laszlo Layton was born in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Raised in the shadow of the Phoenix Zoo, he spent summers studying animals and natural history. After moving from San Diego to Los Angeles, Laszlo worked in the motion picture industry for over 20 years while his art gestated. During this time he began to paint; early works in acrylics, oils, watercolor, and encaustic focused on stark desert landscapes.
After reading a piece about contemporary photographers reviving 19th century photo printing processes, Layton became fascinated by the oldest formulas for handmade photographic prints. The modern revivalists led him to early proponents of fine art photography, The Pictorialists, and the Photo Secessionists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Works by F. Holland Day, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Gertrude Kasebier and Clarence White stimulated more research.
Layton then acquired a huge Deardorff studio view camera constructed of mahogany. And proceeded to produce enormous eleven-by-fourteen inch negatives for the contact printing method required by early photographic processes. Moved by the spirit of the Photo Secessionists, his inspiration came in rediscovering his youthful interest in zoology. With a fully functional camera, a box of sheet film, household light bulbs in hardware store reflectors, and a singular vision, Laszlo began to create his Natural History series.
Still with an eye on the past, Laszlo is keeping abreast of the digital technologies in photography. This synthesis of old and new tools helps Laszlo Layton realize his vision.