Rice’s Paul Hester to present 50 years of Houston history in photographs

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations

MEDIA ADVISORY

Katharine Shilcutt
713-348-6760
kshilcutt@rice.edu

Rice’s Paul Hester to present 50 years of Houston history in photographs

The photography professor emeritus will also display recent work at Rice Media Gallery show

HOUSTON — (Dec. 20, 2018) – One man’s vision of a half-century in Houston’s history goes on display at the Rice Media Center with an exhibit showcasing the work of a professor emeritus who has taught generations of students the art of photography.

The now-demolished Glatzmaier Seafood Market & Restaurant stood at 416 Travis St. in downtown Houston. (Photo credit: Paul Hester)

The now-demolished Glatzmaier Seafood Market & Restaurant stood at 416 Travis St. in downtown Houston. (Photo credit: Paul Hester)

“Business and Pleasure, Fifty Years of Photographs” will feature a wide assortment of photos tracing the personal and professional life of Paul Hester, a photography professor emeritus at Rice University. The Visual and Dramatic Arts (VADA) department at Rice will honor Hester’s work with an opening reception Jan. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rice Media Center Gallery.

The salon-style show covering the first- and second-floor walls of the Media Center will include  images from Hester’s undergraduate years at Rice in the 1960s. Photography students will particularly appreciate observing what types of cameras Hester used to shoot different subjects.

Under the guidance of legendary Rice professor and photographer Geoff Winningham, beginning photography classes of the 1960’s used the 4×5-inch view camera, which remains unrivaled when it comes to capturing landscapes. Advanced photography students in that era used many other celebrated cameras and lenses borrowed from the Media Center: the Leica M4, the Widelux (a 35mm camera with a moving lens that rotates 140 degrees), the Olympus Pen F half-frame, the Yashica 120mm, the Nikon F and even a fisheye lens.

The late ’60s marked the beginning of the Rice Media Center, when the de Menil family brought art, art history, film, photography and even Andy Warhol to Rice. The vision of the de Menils was fulfilled by the construction of the Rice Media Center building in 1969, the Department of Art and Art History and Institute for the Arts (which today exists as VADA), the Department of Art History and the Rice Cinema Program. Their commitment to bringing  photography, filmmaking, art history and internationally renowned artists to the Media Center created a vibrant community and fertile ground for budding artists.

Paul Hester celebrates “Business & Pleasure, Fifty Years of Photographs” with an opening reception Jan. 17. (Photo credit: Paul Hester)

Paul Hester celebrates “Business & Pleasure, Fifty Years of Photographs” with an opening reception Jan. 17. (Photo credit: Paul Hester)

“After a year of travel in Europe on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and two years in graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design, where I used a 35mm Leica M4 exclusively, I returned to Houston in 1977 to work as the photography coordinator for the visual art department at Rice,” Hester said. “I was required to be present four hours in the afternoon. In the morning I explored the city with my brand-new-to-me, used Hasselblad Super Wide 120mm camera, making square pictures all over Houston, which seemed totally different after four years away.”

The retrospective will showcase a wide variety of photographs from Hester’s undergraduate years at Rice through both commissioned and self-assigned projects, including his most recent work.

In contrast to photography’s analog days in the darkroom, Hester now enjoys the instant gratification of digital pictures. When his photo senses tingle and he feels the need to document that very moment, he might rely on his iPhone, Nikon D3X or mirrorless Fujifilm digital camera.

“The best place to photograph is where you find yourself, and the best camera is the one you have with you,” Hester said. “After working as an architectural photographer using very unforgiving color transparency film in a 4×5 view camera, the joy of extending the making of a photograph beyond the moment of exposure into the post-production time is my greatest delight with the digital process. In a way it is similar to using black and white film; the making of the print is again, as Ansel Adams said, the performance of the score recorded in the negative.”

Hester divides his time between Houston and Fayetteville, Texas, teaching and taking pictures. His photographs reside in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth; and in the homes of passionate collectors across the world.

Hester's most recent work includes photos of California Spanish-style homes for a book with Diane Keaton, "California Romantic." (Photo credit: Hester + Hardaway)

Hester’s most recent work includes photos of California Spanish-style homes for a book with Diane Keaton, “California Romantic.” (Photo credit: Hester + Hardaway)

During his 15 years as a VADA faculty member, where he taught courses in photography and writing-intensive classes about the language of photography, Hester traveled twice to Xi’an, China, and once to Havana with groups of students studying how those countries are represented in photographic histories. He has been a regular photographer for Cite, the magazine of the Rice Design Alliance,since its inception in 1982. Last year, he photographed 100 locations around Houston chosen by 100 throws of a dart, culminating in the 100th issue of Cite.

Hester and wife Lisa Hardaway, a graduate of Rice’s Shepherd School of Music, operate Hester + Hardaway Photographers. Together they have produced books on historic Texas courthouses,California Spanish-style houseswith Diane Keaton, a history of Houston’s Glenwood Cemeteryand the architecture of Philip Johnson in Texaswith Frank Welch. They also photographed a year of the changing seasons at the houses and studios of Georgia O’Keeffein Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.

“Business & Pleasure, Fifty Years of Photographs” will be on view at the Rice Media Center gallery from Jan. 17-Feb. 22. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information visit vada.rice.eduor email arts@rice.edu

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For more information, contact Katharine Shilcutt, media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6760 or kshilcutt@rice.edu.

This news release can be found online at https://news.rice.edu/.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

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High-resolution images for download:

https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/news-network.rice.edu/dist/c/2/files/2018/12/Hester_Glatzmaier_grayscale_sized-1key6cs.jpg

The now-demolished Glatzmaier Seafood Market & Restaurant stood at 416 Travis St. in downtown Houston. (Photo credit: Paul Hester)

https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/news-network.rice.edu/dist/c/2/files/2018/12/Hester_Paul_2010-2kfv2fc.jpg

Paul Hester celebrates “Business & Pleasure, Fifty Years of Photographs” with an opening reception Jan. 17. (Photo credit: Paul Hester)

https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/news-network.rice.edu/dist/c/2/files/2018/12/HesterHardaway_Palmer_7665-1r01ihy.jpg

Hester’s most recent work includes photos of California Spanish-style homes for a book with Diane Keaton, “California Romantic.” (Photo credit: Hester + Hardaway) 

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

About Katharine Shilcutt

Katharine Shilcutt is a media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.