John Flannery has been photographing for decades, he has been friends with Ansel Adams, and he has lost the vast majority of his work in a house fire. Deborah Hughes managed to get an exclusive interview with this doyen of photography that will be great food for thought to all of us
Interview by Deborah Hughes
I met John Flannery close to 30 years ago while we sat together on a wooden bench outside a judge’s chambers awaiting final divorce decrees. I was scribbling furiously in my journal trying to hold onto a roller coaster of emotions when he inquired about my writing. A conversation about poetry ensued and his subsequent gift of Gary Snyder’s Turtle Island became my first-owned book of poems. A few years later, he took me and two of my young sons up in his plane for a tour of Cache Valley, Utah. “Here,” he said placing my hand on the stick, “it’s your turn.” He opened his window and leaned out to his waist with his camera aimed at the freshly mown alfalfa fields below. Handing over the controls to me before I even know I’m airborne has been his way of teaching. Our conversation has continued over the years, as has his trust in my flights of photography and writing.
Throughout his life, John has photographed and flown around the world, but at 84, he has been grounded from flying his own craft due to hearing loss. Some years back before the digital explosion, his photographic career practically ground to a halt from the loss of his life’s work of slides and prints in a house fire. Despite these and other setbacks that would breed cynicism and defeat in a lesser man, Flannery continues to…
Read this and many more articles in High Definition inside Issue 41 of Landscape Photography Magazine.