2018 Luminary Series – Chris Howes

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Chris Howes’ first cave exploring trip was in 1968. Afterward, his dad—believing that caves were dangerous—emphasized to Chris that he was not to venture underground—not no how; not no way. That was all that it took, and Chris Howes was off on a lifetime of caving. An avid above-ground photographer, it seemed perfectly natural for Chris to extend his photographic endeavors to the realm of the underworld. At first the results were sophomoric, but they soon evolved into something exceptional. To capture the desired images, Chris (and his photo assistants) hauled gear through grim conditions, backbreaking passages, up and down drops, and across all manner of obstacles and wonders. Each trip helped to refine his skill set and perfect the methods for which he became famous. Encouraged by friends, Howes penned a manuscript detailing the techniques that he had learned, developed, and employed. The resulting Cave Photography: A Practical Guide appeared in 1987. Also fascinated by the historical aspects of underground photography, Chris Howes carefully researched the entirety of that niche, collected certain of the associated artifacts, assembled many rare images, and wrote up the results in his own inimitable way. For cavers fascinated by a journey along the bumpy road from magnesium flares and flash powder to modern electronic strobes there is no better book than Howes’ To Photograph Darkness: The History of Underground and Flash Photography. Then, in 1997, Chris updated and consolidated some aspects of his previous work with the publication of Images Below: A Manual of Underground and Flash Photography.

2018 Luminary Series – Chris Howes

June 1, 2018

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